Bangus - Balingasags pride
Bangus - Balingasag's pride

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Northern Mindanao is projecting bangus (milkfish) production at the Balingasag Mariculture Park in Misamis Oriental to equal or even exceed last year’s yield.

As of April, 246 metric tons of bangus valued at P22.1 million had been harvested at the mariculture park. Last year’s total production was 432.52 metric tons worth P38.93 million. The facility started operating in 2007.

Last May, Balingasag town hosted the Lambangus 2009 festival, showcasing various technologies for bangus-raising and mariculture park operation.

“It will not take long before Balingasag will be known as the bangus capital in Northern Mindanao and even the entire Mindanao,” Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar S. Moreno, who graced the event, said in his speech.

Trade and Industry regional director Alicia V. Eusena had said food production in Northern Mindanao is doing well, unlike the industry sector, which announced retrenchments in the first quarter. “We are expecting aquamarine and halal industries to have favorable demand and we even have untapped market overseas,” she said.

Bangus grown at the Balingasag mariculture park is supplied to this city and the cities of Iligan in Lanao del Norte and Valencia and Malaybalay in Bukidnon. Excess production also goes to towns and cities in Central Visayas, including Cebu City.

The mariculture park is one of the projects in Northern Mindanao aimed at boosting aquamarine production in the region. Other facilities include the milkfish breeding center in Mahinog, Camiguin and the multi-species hatchery center in the town of Sagay, also in Camiguin.

The regional Fisheries bureau has yet to announce the construction of a P10-million fish processing plant to be established in this region to complement to the milkfish breeding facilities and provide value-adding to milkfish. The plant has been part of the medium-term development plan in support of the aquamarine industry in Northern Mindanao.

Total investments from private investors in the Balingasag mariculture park has been estimated at P149.15 million, while the national and municipal governments invested at least P5 million in the development of the park in 2007. The park has generated 676 jobs so far.

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