Mariculture Park opens in Masbate City
by EA Delegado
Masbate City (28 October) -- The opening here of a fish raisers’ park will give the entire province of Masbate long-term benefits in terms of food security and investments and livelihood opportunities, officials said.
Masbate City Mayor Socrates Tuason led Wednesday last week the ceremonial launching of Masbate City Mariculture Park (MCMP), a 200-hectare, P5-million facility that would be assembled on Masbate Bay for the production of high-priced marine products such as grouper, red snapper, milkfish and edible sea weed.
The first of its kind in the province and probably the biggest in the region, the facility is somewhat the equivalent of an industrial park on land such as the export processing zone in Cavite.
The MCMP is the other half of Masbate Fish Complex (MFC) that houses an ice plant, cold storage, and blast freezing and processing facilities adjacent to a port for fishing boats.
Together, the MFC and MCMP have accomplished Tuason’s medium-term fishery modernization program that has propelled the industry as the city’s flagship under its Coastal Resource Management Program (CRMP).
In a statement, Tuason said construction of mooring systems and amenities has begun with four cages serving as demos on production. As soon as completed, the structures will be up for lease to corporations, cooperatives and individuals who will operate in large, medium and small scales.
He said the money-making power of mariculture in Masbate Bay has already been proven by the initial structures operated by Crown B Farms, in which each 10 meters by 10 meters floating cage yielded between eight and 10 tons of milkfish or grouper. Thus, a hectare of mooring system with 24 cages is on a par with 12 hectares of traditional fishpond in terms of production.
He said the fish processing plant at the MFC was also being upgraded to the standards of United States and European Union, the prospective markets for products from the mariculture park.
Illustrating how will the global markets raise the returns of an investment in mariculture several notches higher, the mayor cited the prices red grouper and milkfish.
He said while red grouper is offered here at P350 per kilo, selling price to European and Asian markets is high as P1,400 a kilo. On the other hand, the price of milkfish which hovers between P100 and P120 per kilo in the local market is on the average P700 more per kilo in the US market.
Tuason said that because Masbate is endowed with rich coastal resources, the city is taking the direction of mariculture for more livelihood and revenue.
The thrust has the legislative backing of Vice Mayor Allan B. Cos and the city councilors, on top of the technical and funding support from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. (PIA Masbate) [top]