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NVizcaya's watershed role tapped for prawn, lobster production

by 5m Editor
28 August 2006, at 1:00am

PHILIPPINES - The boundless wonders of time has transformed the limited source and habitat of sea water prawns, encroaching their boundaries to Nueva Vizcaya's fresh waters. Local agriculture officials in the province have started to promote fresh water prawns (Machrobrachium rosenbergii) as an alternative source of livelihood among farmers here, reports the Philippine Information Service (PIA).

NVizcaya's watershed role tapped for prawn, lobster production - PHILIPPINES - The boundless wonders of time has transformed the limited source and habitat of sea water prawns, encroaching their boundaries to Nueva Vizcaya's fresh waters. Local agriculture officials in the province have started to promote fresh water prawns (Machrobrachium rosenbergii) as an alternative source of livelihood among farmers here, reports the Philippine Information Service (PIA).

The potential of fresh water prawn production as a feasible business was exhibited here during the 167th founding anniversary of the province dubbed 'Panagyaman' (Thanksgiving).

"Nueva Vizcaya, despite its being a landlocked province is blessed with fresh water areas where prawns can be propagated," said Felipe Panganiban, provincial agriculturist.

Prawns, measuring at 5 inches or 1 foot in length now thrive within farmers' ponds which can be nurtured from four months to even years.

Fresh water prawns, called by old folks as "Kising-kising " in Ilocano or "Ulang" in Tagalog can be spawned at deep cool waters in Nueva Vizcaya because of its being a watershed.

Panganiban said the excellent quality of fresh water in the province have contributed to the 80 percent recovery among fresh water prawn farmers based on their technology demonstrations.

Post Larvae of fresh water prawn is sold at P250.00 a piece. Its food requirements, agriculture officials claimed is 2 bags to four bags for a thousand prawns which is minimal compared to "Tilapia" farming.

Even the golden kuhol, which is known as a farm menace, along with used vegetables and organic food items can be used as their food.

"If our problem is golden kuhol, then this is one way to eliminate it, " said Absalom Baysa, a fisheries extension worker of the local agriculture office here.

These species of prawns, originally lived in sea waters developed themselves in surviving on fresh waters by slowly acclimatizing themselves. Prawns' characteristic cycle show that they spawn at fresh water then go back to the salt water.

The fresh water prawns were initially available in Dagupan City in Pangasinan, Cauayan City in Isabela and in Sta. Ana town in Cagayan province. Agriculture officials identified the towns of Sta. Fe, Kayapa, Kasibu, Bagabag, Bayombong, Diadi and Bambang as potential areas for fresh water production.

From these towns, water falls feed rivers and creeks that goes to the Magat river, the longest body of water in Cagayan Valley.

Agriculture officials said their introduction of fresh water prawn was inspired by Japan's "Comeback Salmon" program which is intended to propagate the dwindling fish in their country.

The program's scheme was used to bring back the abundance of eels in the province's waters. For the past years, eels which have the nature similar with salt water prawns, spawning in fresh water before going back to salt waters have become minimal in numbers since the Magat dam in Ramon, Isabela and the higher level of the province serve as a barrier when they go back in Nueva Vizcaya's waters to spawn, leaving them locally extinct.

Local agriculture office here has to spend P140,000.00 to purchase 40,000 Elvers for distribution to communal bodies of water to help fish farmers in raising their income. A kilo of eel is sold at P320.00.

Profitable market

Fish farmers, such as former cycling champ, Lupo Alava and other personalities in Nueva Vizcaya have started producing fresh water prawns, which is seen as more profitable compared to fish farming.

"Because of its high value, quality and marketability, Alava made use of at least 10 of his ponds to mass produce fresh water prawns," Baysa said.

He said the fresh water prawns can survive up to three days of transportation like crabs which make it proper for international market.

Prawns are touted as Food of the Gods because they are expensive.

The FishSite Newsdesk

5m Editor