EASTERN SAMAR TOWN TAGGED AS REGION’S LOBSTER CAPITAL
TACLOBAN CITY — The coastal town of Guiuan, Eastern Samar has been identified by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) as the lobster capital of the Eastern Visayas region.
The town is an ideal site for lobster production because of the high likelihood that the seed settlement of the lobster species, Panulirus ornatus, extends north to the east coast of Samar, BFAR 8 (Eastern Visayas) Director Juan Albaladejo said in a phone interview Friday.
“Traditionally, we get most of the lobster gathered from the wild in Guiuan. The town is the main trading place for these high-value aquatic organisms. It is just fitting to start our lobster culture venture by managing the population of highly sought after peurulus (post-larval stage) fry of the species,” Albaladejo said.
The fisheries bureau began training 50 fishermen from eight coastal villages on basic skills on making standardized lobster puerulus collection devices this week.
These collectors, composed of cement bag bowties, gill net panels and improvised bamboo floating frames, will be installed in areas found to be abundant with puerulus. The collectors will be used as instruments to assess the presence of lobster puerulus in selected areas.
It will also help identify the lobster species available, estimate the puerulus resource in each area, and gather the necessary data to enable sustainable management.
The training is one of the major steps in the implementation of the PHP10 million program. The initiative will capture puerulus from the wild that are transported long distance by the ocean current. It is estimated that sea current brings about six million puerulus to Philippine seas every year, looking for suitable habitat.
The collected puerulus will be transferred to nursery cages until they become juvenile lobsters, which will then be used for grow-out culture. Juveniles will be reared by trained fishermen for eight months to a year to reach their minimum marketable size of 500 grams. Currently, a kg. of lobster costs PHP4,800 in the market.
The initiative is in partnership with Prof. Clive Jones of Australia’s James Cook University, and Winrock International, specifically on feeding trials using pellet feeds at BFAR – Guiuan Marine Fisheries Development Center in Eastern Samar.
The aquaculture project will be patterned after successful lobster farming off Dinagat Island, which is also being supported by the fisheries bureau. (PNA)
Photo from BFAR/PNA