By Mike Crismundo
BUTUAN CITY – The establishment of more mariculture parks by building more fish cages in different areas is adding to the continuing economic growth in Northeastern Mindanao or Caraga region.
To boost fish production and food sustainability in Caraga region, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) regional office here is constantly encouraging stakeholders, particularly the business fishery sector to engage in mariculture by building more fish cages.
To date, there are already four mariculture parks in Caraga region.
These parks are located in Surigao City, the municipality of Nasipit, in Agusan del Norte, the Dapa town in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte, and Barobo town, in Surigao del Sur. These mariculture parks have already more than 400 existing fish cages.
DTI 13 Regional Director Brielgo O. Pagaran is optimistic that more investors are coming in to the aquamarine industry, and surely will grow to maximize the region’s potential productivity in the fisheries sector.
“We need to make use of our existing park zones so that people may be provided with jobs and our targeted gross regional domestic product will be reached in a few years,” stressed the region’s top DTI official, in an exclusive interview with The Manila Bulletin.
Trade and Industry Development Specialist Dennis Solis said that DTI-Caraga is now providing technical assistance to investors who are interested in engaging with building Norwegian fish cages.
Norwegian fish cages are mobile circular cages made of high density polyethylene.
Solis said that initial investment for fish farming using the Norwegian fish cage would reach P3 million inclusive of the fish cage, fingerlings, and aqua feeds.
He added that more than 50 units of Norwegian fish cages are already installed in the region where bangus (milkfish) as prime commodity is bred.
An estimated four tons of bangus is harvested at least twice a year in each unit which is equivalent to almost P500,000 income per harvest.
Solis, also being the aquamarine accounts officer in the region, said that aquaculture is considered a priority industry cluster in Caraga region.
“It is time to look towards sustainable aquaculture in the region because this also translates to environmental, economic and social sustainability,” Solis said.
The city government of Surigao is expecting a fund support of nearly P35 million from Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources within the year. Surigao City Mayor Ernesto “Estong” U. Matugas, Jr. said the city government has already purchased the required two-hectare land area for the project in Punta Bilar, Surigao City.
There are three groups of fish cage operators presently engaging in bangus and lobster production in Surigao City.
The first group consists of 32 private and individual operators that occupy around 166,435 square meters of fish cages for bangus and lobsters in six villages in Surigao City. The second is government-operated but managed by associations, most of whom occupy 10×10 meters cages for bangus production. The third group is classified as private investors for bangus and lobster productions consisting of 30 private investors, also in this fast growing city.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR-13) said there are six government-operated fish cages in four barangays in the city, which also include the City Agriculture Office (CAO) with a 5×5-meter cage for bangus production.
Mayor Matugas said the additional two-hectare area that will serve as hatchery would encourage more fisherfolk to venture into bangus and lobster productions.
The Surigao City Chief Executive added that the project also seeks to ensure the steady supply of bangus and lobster in the market centers of Surigao City and the neighboring towns.