The culture of mussels in Lingayen Gulf
By Roberto Garcia
THE green bay mussel (Perna viridis) or what is known locally as tahong is a sought-after shellfish due to its delicious taste, especially when baked in butter or simply boiled into a nourishing soup. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, protein and carbohydrates. Though not indigenous to the area, it is reportedly thriving well in the waters of Anda and Bolinao in Pangasinan.
Culturing green bay mussels is a big industry in the coastal communities of Manila Bay, Sapian Bay in Panay, Maqueda Bay in Samar, and in the southwest coast of Negros Occidental. On the other hand, the big demand and the presence of a natural population in Anda-Bolinao area make this shellfish a prime target for culture in Lingayen Gulf.
The best site for farming mussel is where it is found growing naturally such as in pollution-free greenish waters with moderate current. It must be deep enough and protected from strong winds and waves.
There are several methods of culture – the simplest is the use of big bamboos staked in the bottom and the more efficient is the hanging rope technique. The best time to set up the culture plots is one month before the onset of the peak spatfall. The shellfish can be harvested in four to six months after the spats have settled on the plots.
The good thing about culturing mussels is that the young spats can be harvested, transported and transplanted in other areas where they can favorably grow. For example, young mussels from Bolinao can be transplanted in Alaminos or Sual or even as far as San Fabian to expand the farming areas as well as the market potential.
Culturing mussels is suitable for coastal communities because of the simple technology and low input cost. But the big market ensures a modest profit despite the low investment.
So happy farming!