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PIA Press Release

Opportunities in Samal "aqua-industrial park"

By Mai Gevera

Davao City (19 February) -- Jorona Aquatic Resources, a marine grower and exporter, is the largest investor that is benefiting the resources of the Island Mariculture Park in the Island Garden City of Samal.

The company is one of the eight existing investors which utilizes the delineated mariculture zone, provided with mooring system and devices by both local and national government, and only pays an annual lease.

Jorona Aquatic which started operation in 2003, used to export Milk fish to the United States market.

It had an estimated 40 to 50 percent return of investments from its export market alone. The company also built a processing plant which enables them to accept direct foreign buyers and even helped process the fish harvests of other small growers.

Jeremias Macario, Joronas' administrative manager, claimed that the company is now enjoying the benefits provided for by the government for the said mariculture park.

Ready to export products from the processing plant are easily transported with the opening of roads to the coastlines fronting the Mariculture Area.

BFAR had put up floating monitoring stations and guard houses, while the LGU provided security and blue guards detailed in the area.

Bricsio Formentera, a small grower in Kaputian, also found a sufficient monthly income on fish farming after he retired from work. Formentera now maintains four cages, with only one cage filled with fish.

Starting last May 2008, the fish farmer could not yet boast huge income from his fish farm.

"Masaya na akong makapag break-even kasi sobrang mahal ang feeds ngayon," (I am content to reach break-even because of the high cost of feeds these days), he said.

This did not discourage him to continue, believing that there are potential opportunities from mariculture.

This small grower is one of the many local fisherfolks who underwent a 4-month on-the job training courses given for free by the government.

He also joined the continuous trainings on alternative livelihood for fisherfolks.

Though both large and small growers admitted slow income growth, but this is only due to the dollar devaluation that greatly affected exporters.

This led Joronas Aquatic to stop export production last year. But seeing positive trends early this year, the company is now back and ready to supply the foreign market with fish requirements.

The export company can produce as much as 40 tons of Milk fish in one delivery, taken from its six cages.

"I have stopped production for the local market for three months now in preparation for the export market which we are targeting," Macario said. He admitted that the company hits big with their exports rather than supplying the local market.

The mariculture park continues to entice more local and foreign investors and locators.

IGACOS, where the aqua-industrial park is located, boasts excellent water quality for wide range of mariculture activities.

It is sheltered from the prevailing monsoon climate of Davao gulf and Southern Mindanao, being out of the typhoon belt.

Also, it has available site for multi-product on-shore facilities like warehouses, cold storage services and ferry boats. (PIA XI) [top]

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