Lapu-lapu culture to rake in more revenues

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
27 April 2007, at 1:00am

PHILIPPINES - Aside from its abundance of pristine waters in Palawan, the grouper fish species or "Lapu-lapu", known for superb taste and its big potential in the export market, is widely cultured through a "Grouper Culture in Cages" technology.

The "Grouper Culture in Cages" technology is being endorsed for commercialization through the National Technology Commercialization Program (NTCP), a major program promoted by the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) for the enhancement and promotion of agriculture and fisheries technologies.

The research and development (R and D) in a research outreach station (ROS) in this city believes that Lapu-Lapu culture could rake in revenues for the country and become a steady source of income for the growing population of coastal dwellers.

The Inland Sea Ranching Station (ISRS), is one of the ROS of DA's Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Region 4B in this city.

The commercialization of the ISRS technology started in January 1996 for utilization of fish farmers in this city and other parts of Palawan such as the Malampaya Sound and Calamianes Group of Islands.

Palawan is ideal for grouper culture because Lapu-Lapu commonly inhabits coastal waters, rocky shores, and coral reefs.

The aquaculturists of ISRS thoroughly studied the set- up of the culture cages for grouper production from site selection, net cage specification and construction to grow-out, harvest, post-harvest, and simple cost and benefit analysis of starting a business by adopting the technology.

According to Roberto Abrera, aquaculture center chief and manager of BFAR's regional fisheries research and development center Region 4B, there are about 40 cultivable species of grouper belonging to family Serranidae.

But only two are popularly cultivated at present, the orange-spotted grouper (Epinephelus coioides) and black-spotted (Epinephelus malabaricus) grouper.

In Palawan, the orange-spotted type is locally known a "loba", while the black-spotted is also known "lapu-lapu".

Abrera said it is difficult to differentiate one specie to the other because of its ability to change colors.

Nevertheless, he said their colors vary under different environmental conditions and physiological states, but their general characteristics are the spots, stripes, and blotches in skin, wide mouth and protruding jaw.

Other cultivable species include the brown marbed grouper, dusky-tail grouper, leopard coral trout, barred-cheek coral trout, and humpback grouper.

The source of stock for grouper fingerlings for commercial cage production is apparently still dependent on the wild, but collecting them is not a problem because they usually gather in coastal waters near mangrove areas, estuaries, and seagrass beds.

Source: Balita