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Australian firm eyes lobster farm in Sarangani

PHILIPPINES - An Australian company is interested to do business in Sarangani on lobster and high value fin-fish farming. This was one of the many opportunities seen at last weekend's Aquaculture Congress, said Engr. Nenita Barroso, trade and industry provincial director.

"There's definitely a chance that this (lobster) business is gonna happen here," said Russell Mooney of the Ogel Australian Redclaw crayfish exporter.

Mooney grows Redclaw crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus), a species of freshwater crayfish similar to the tropical lobster and considered superior for aquaculture in Central Queensland, Australia. He said that crayfish sells at Aus$25 per kilo.

Mooney said his family business is now looking for a 10-hectare area where it could put up the business. He is examining the climate and water temperature in Sarangani too. "My family has been with this business for 16 years now. We are exporting at least 1,600 kilos of the crayfish to Japan every week from the 11-hectare fish pond," he said.

"It's like a passion to me. That's why I want to bring the business here in the Philippines," Mooney added. Aquaculture Congress delegates who joined the Sarangani Bay cruise "enjoyed seeing the fish cages in our Bay," Barroso said. "They saw lots of opportunities in Sarangani."

Businessmen, researchers and government technicians attended the congress, which was part of Sarangani's 14th Foundation Day celebration, to discuss its business opportunities in Sarangani. "This industry will continue to grow. We have the opportunities here and it's all up to us," Governor Migs Dominguez said.

According to the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center, aquaculture is the world's fastest growing food production sector of which 50% of the world's food fish consumption comes from. The Department of Trade and Industry said Sarangani has grown a P2 billion aquaculture industry that doubled in just three years.

Aquaculture is the one-town one-product of Alabel, the capital town and the province has been known for its prime bangus products, which has been exported to different international markets. Sarangani Bay is also rich in high value fin fish like pompano, grouper, and sea bass.

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