Green Mussels, locally known as ‘tahong,’ is a favorite among Filipinos. Unfortunately, due to poor sanitary quality of freshly harvested mussels some people refrain from consuming this delicious delicacy.
But with the soft launching of the Mussel Depuration Facility in Barangay Alima, Bacoor, Cavite, surely more people will be enjoying delightful tahong dishes whether baked, lightly grilled, or cooked as soup with spicy ginger. The facility is funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).
The facility is an output of the project, “Production of safe mussels using environment-friendly culture methods in sites near urban areas,” which aimed to produce an S&T-based solutions in producing safe mussels near urban areas. Part of the recommended S&T-based solutions is the establishment of the depuration facility.
It is a small-scale depuration facility model using protocol that will allow mussels to “depurate” or self-cleanse and expel from their gut bacteria that may pose health risks to consumers when mussels are eaten raw or partially cooked. The current model can hold 60-90 kg of mussels per tank and can reduce the bacterial content of mussels within 6-18 hours.
During the launch, Dr. Edwin C. Villar, PCAARRD Deputy Executive Director for Research and Development, assured the community that if this would really push the growth of the industry and benefit the people, the Council, along with the local government unit (LGU) would be more than willing to upscale this prototype facility to benefit more communities and fisherfolk.
Before the launch, Villar witnessed how people in the community relied on mussels as a source of livelihood. He shared that he was privileged to witness the ‘human drama’ in mussel production having seen a whole community, including children, awaiting the arrival of newly harvested mussels and working together to remove dirt and barnacles from the shell just to earn ₱80 from a 50 kg sack of mussels.
He assured the community and the local government that PCAARRD would continue to support programs and activities that would promote the development and growth of the tahong industry in Cavite.
Likewise, Bacoor Mayor Lani Mercado Revilla expressed her gratitude to the project for the establishment of the facility. She admitted that it was one of her dreams to put up one such facility knowing the difficulty of assuring safe and clean mussels and ensuring the sustainability of the industry. She recounted that years ago, when the province was experiencing health concerns on the consumption of mussels, she brought mussel farmers to Pangasinan to let them observe and learn from the benefit of a depuration facility. Today, that dream has become a reality.
The depuration facility was a collaboration between PCAARRD, the Local Government of Bacoor, and the Cavite State University (CvSU) – Naic Campus.