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National Abalone Breeding Program to address shortage in world market

PHILIPPINES - Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap on Friday launched here a five-year program spearheaded by the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) and Bureau of Fisheries and Agriculture Research (BFAR) to address shortage of abalone in the world market.

At present, there is an estimated shortage of about 4,000-6,000 metric tons (MT) of abalone in the world market.

Yap said the P15 million investment of DA-BFAR in the National Abalone Breeding and Culture Program, “is well worth it,” considering that in the first year alone, the six abalone hatcheries and six grow-out farms to be built under this initiative are projected to produce more than 100,000 kilos, which is worth P36 million in the local market and P56.5 million if exported.

He said the DA-BFAR and SEAFDEC is looking at six possible sites for abalone hatcheries and grow-out sea cage farms­two each in Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao. These are in Claveria in Cagayan Valley and Sorsogon for Luzon; Bohol and Cebu for the Visayas; and Surigao and Camiguin Island in Mindanao.

“With this national program in place, we hope to maintain our niche as one of the exporters of abalone in the Asia-Pacific region,” Yap said during the 34th anniversary celebration of the SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department held in Tigbauan, Iloilo.

“With this five-year program, we are seeding and nurturing the country’s fledgling abalone industry,” he added.

The tropical abalone is one of the most commercially important commodities for domestic and international market. Hong Kong is regarded as the biggest exporter of this commodity in Asia, contributing about 30 percent share of frozen abalone.

In the last decade, the Philippines exported about P129-million worth of various abalone products.

Yap said the Philippines is “looking forward to conquering the abalone export market in succeeding years,” with the implementation of the program, pointing out that the current world market demand for this fish requires an additional four million to six million kilos annually.

He said that with the rising demand, particularly in China, abalone prices are expected to rise in the global market.

Source: Bayanihan

the Fish Site Editor

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