Among the many forms of aquaculture here in the Philippines, mussel farming is one of those which is a very promising industry. Specifically in some areas in Samar, mussel farming is now in commercial scale, providing livelihood to fishermen and their families. Mussels can be marketed locally and globally and their production requires minimum capital investment.
Mussel farming requires patience, hard work, and innovation. This is why, it is never easy. With so many factors to consider, such as the weather, water temperature, salinity, and the geophysical site, mussel farming is made more difficult. But unlike other aquaculture businesses, it does not require highly sophisticated techniques.
To address this concern, Emilio H. Cebu, Chief of the Fisheries Section of the Office of the Provincial Agriculture of Samar, developed a new mussel farm model named as bamboo tray module.
The bamboo tray module consists of bamboo poles alternately stacked horizontally and vertically. The poles have holes in their ends to reduce buoyancy in water. The innovation is based on the technological problems shown by the old methods in mussel farming – the staking or “tulos”, wigwam, and hanging methods. It is designed for economic efficiency; to withstand severe weather conditions; and specifically for breeding of the Philippine green mussel (Perna viridis) locally known as “tahong”.
Using the right kind of bamboo is crucial to ensure the stability of the structure, Cebu points out. Bamboo is best fitted for the module because of its excellent strength and is cheaper compared to the other timbers. Cebu recommends the use of Dendrocalamus latiflorus (“patong)” or Bambusa blumeana (“kabugawan”) for its thickness and sturdiness.
Unlike the staking method where bamboo poles penetrate the seabed and the wigwam method, which uses a pivot system, the bamboo trays are laid flat, fully submerging the whole structure in the seawater. Since no portion of the bamboo set-up is exposed, all parts of the structure are fully used in accommodating mussel spats. This assures the efficiency of the model specifically in the economic, allocation, and production aspects. Also, because of its sturdy structure, it can resist bad weather conditions and is also eco-friendly since it produces zero waste.
Incidentally, the bamboo tray module project was funded by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Region 8. (Kristina Ginn Estoy and Wolfreda T. Alesna, VSU-DDC/ViCARP)