By Cindy Ferrer
Iloilo City, The Philippines (PNA).- The establishment of a hatchery for blue swimming crabs at the Northern Iloilo Polytechnic State College (NIPSC) campus in Concepcion, Iloilo is expected to increase production, a provincial government official said Monday.
Provincial Agriculturist Ildefonso Toledo said it will be the first hatchery for the particular marine species and is expected to produce one million crablets in a cycle.
Blue swimming crab, Toledo said, is one of the species of crab, which is previously abundant in the province – especially in northern Iloilo.
He said that the population of this crab species has declined through the years.
At the moment, Toledo said fishermen could only get less than five kilos of crablets per day, lower than the 20-kilo production during the 1980s and the 1990s.
“In fact, the picking and processing plants, which exported crab meat have also decreased in number,” he said.
Toledo recounted that in 2000, there are about 11 picking and processing plants in northern Iloilo. But today, only two remained – one in Concepcion and another in Carles.
During the same period, Toledo said these plants processed 20 tons of crabs a day.
“Now, they even strive to get one ton a day,” he said,
“That is a remarkable decrease in the population of blue swimming crab, that is why the governor (Arthur Defensor Sr.) feels the urgency to address the problem to bring back the resources from our seas in the province of Iloilo,” he added.
During the out of town session of the members of Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) last June 8, the body approved the request of Provincial Administrator Raul Banias to authorize the Iloilo provincial government to sign a memorandum of understanding with NIPSC for the establishment of facility.
Toledo said they have allotted PHP5 million for the construction of the hatchery. Some PHP3.3 million of the budget will be to its building while the remaining amount will go to equipment for the start-up of the operation.
Aside from being a hatchery, it will also be used as a research facility available to students enrolled in fishery and marine biology courses in NIPSC.
Toledo said the hatchery is expected to be completed within 120 days.