Green mussel (Perna viridis), locally known as tahong, is the only species of mussel being cultured commercially in the Philippines. A challenge that hinders sustainability of mussel production is the insufficient supply of seed stock. Mussel farmers rely mainly on seeds gathered from the wild. However, due to the impacts of natural and human influences, mussel spats from the natural bed are now becoming scarce and could hardly support the requirement of the growers.
To address the problem of low production of mussel spats, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), through the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), funded the Mussel Hatchery Project. The project, which was implemented by the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) in Miagao, Iloilo aimed to develop technologies to ensure a reliable supply of mussel spats for grow-out production.
Following the method established by the project, transport of broodstock from the natural mussel ground to the UPV hatchery ranging from seven to 36 hours after harvest attained high survival rate of 98%.
The “warmwater spawning technique” was also employed and consistently exhibited good results. Transitioning from “D-hinged” to “early spat” stage of about 1mm provided more than 4% survival rate, which was higher than that obtained in other Asian countries, with only 1 to 2%. The spent spawners were rematured by restocking them in the natural environment.
Mussel farmers, entrepreneurs, vendors, middleman, processors, researchers, technicians, extension workers, policy makers, and consumers are set to benefit from this project.
Initially, the Mussel Hatchery Project was led by Dr. Liberato V. Laureta, Jr. After his retirement in Dec. 2016, Dr. Mary Jane A. Amar, also from the Institute of Aquaculture, College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of the Philippines Visayas, took over the leadership.