PCSD, WPU to assist in abalone culture

Donkey ears abalone (H. asinina) (File photo from Wikimedia: goo.gl/v4GkD9)

The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) is set to roll out a program for coastal communities geared towards the production and culture of abalone.

Jovic Fabello, spokersperson of PCSD, said the project will start in a coastal barangay of Taytay, benefiting its local residents.

“Halos perfected na ang technology at ito ay ready for dispersal na. Nakikita natin na hinog na ang technology at may application na talaga,” Fabello told Palawan News.

Fabello said they are in the pre-implementation phase of the project which is being conducted in partnership with the Western Philippines University (WPU).

The research on abalone farming using indigenous materials was conducted by Dr. Lota Creencia, John Roderick Madarcos, Jaysee Matillano, and Riza San Juan, according to the PCSD.

Abalone is a common term for a group of edible marine snails. They are shellfish whose shells are lined with a hard white material (called mother-of-pearl). Three species of abalone survive in Philippine marine waters: the donkey’s ear abalone (Haliotis asinina) local name – “lapas” or “sobra-sobra” in Ilonggo, H. varia with local name “kapinan”, and H. ovina. H. asinina grows to a maximum size of 10-11 cm in shell length while the other two are relatively smaller with maximum shell length of 6-8 cm. There are existing commercial abalone fisheries in the provinces of Iloilo, Guimaras, and Negros, it was learned.

Fabello explained that research on marine and fisheries products like abalone, crabs, and pearls is beneficial to communities. “Ito ‘yung mga research na akma para sa Palawan. At dapat din na ma-implement at ma-commercial din natin ito,” he said.

The country used to be the top frozen abalone exporter to Hong Kong. It also supplied abalone to other Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Australia, and Singapore. Locally, abalone costs around P750–800 per can, but demands a higher price across international waters when exported—givinh it a one-billion dollar world market value.

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