“Giant Lapu-lapu” spawners released in Sarangani Bay

29 May 2017
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MAASIM, Sarangani (May 28, 2017) - Sarangani Bay is now the new home of five “giant lapu-lapu” spawners donated by the largest commercial fishing hatchery in the Philippines, highlighting the town’s Ocean Month celebration on Friday, May 26.

The five king groupers locally known as “Lapu-lapu” or “Kugtong” were donated by Finfish Hatcheries Inc. the first fry hatchery in the country which is based in Sarangani Province.

They were released into Sarangani Bay to help replenish the grouper population in the area.

Giant Groupers are the largest bony fish found in coral areas like Sarangani Bay.

According to Wikipedia, giant groupers are protogynous hermaphrodites which means “they are all born female, but some become male when few males are present.”

According to Genia Genosa, production superintendent for Finfish Hatcheries Inc., the giant lapu-lapus range in weight from 80 kilograms to more than 100 kilograms each. One giant grouper can spawn 20% of its own body weight in eggs, meaning one of the spawning groupers can lay between 16 kilograms to more than 20 kilograms of egg per cycle.

Genosa explained further that each kilo of giant grouper egg can have as much as 1.2 million fries.

“The reason why they lay so many eggs, is because the mortality of their fry is only around 5% but they lay so many and we hope that with the proper guidance, they can help repopulate Sarangani Bay with groupers,” Genosa said.

Maasim Mayor Aniceto Lopez Jr. for his part pledged that he will help ensure the giant spawning groupers will survive through constant monitoring and feeding.

Mayor Lopez added that since the Sarangani Energy Corporation (SEC) jetty area is an environmentally protected seascape, catching the groupers among other marine species is illegal.

“We will ask our Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to keep an eye on the giant groupers and help us make sure that they are safe,” Lopez said.

The 805th Squadron of the Phil. Coast Guard Auxiliary - Alsons Power Group stationed near the jetty also pledged to help watch for enterprising fishermen who might be tempted to catch one of the giant groupers.

Former Sarangani Governor who is now Executive Vice President for the Alsons Business Unit (ABU) Miguel Rene Alcantara Dominguez said that this is the first time he has heard that a private company is reseeding a marine protected area with breeders so that they can continuously produce.

“It is a significant contribution because we are going to seed the marine protected area with grouper breeders so that they will reproduce here in the marine protected area and later on will become available for the fishermen to catch at the allowed fishing grounds,” Dominguez said.

The former governor also said that this is the first time in the country or possibly the whole world where a private company is reseeding a marine protected area with breeders or brood stock so that they can continuously reproduce and make it sustainable.

Good stocks are generally reserved and secured to maximize profit and protect investor interest for usual hatcheries.

“We have been restocking Sarangani Bay with milkfish but we decided to take it a step further by putting breeders back in the wild where they belong. Not only will it help in the sustainability of the bay, but hopefully the giant groupers will become a big tourist attraction for Maasim. Divers can swim with these giant creatures dahil friendly naman sila,” Dominguez added.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has designated May as the ocean month by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 57 issued in 1999. This year’s celebration will highlight the significance as well as the conservation and protection of coral reefs.

During the culmination, at least 400 volunteers from the Summer Big Brother (SBB) – a summer reading fun program also conducted a coastal cleanup drive as well as a mangrove planting.

Divers from Lemlunay Resort who called themselves ‘Scubasureros,’ volunteered to dive and collect underwater thrash deposited in the bay from passing ships and tide.

During the event, Ruben Tungpalan, Sarangani Energy’s Corporations’ (SEC) Corporate Affairs Manager reiterated SEC’s commitment to protecting and preserving Sarangani Bay.

“We are situated right in front of Sarangani Bay which means that we have the bigger responsibility of making sure that they bay is protected and preserved,” Tungpalan said. “More than ensuring the protection and preservation of the environment, SEC being a part of the Alsons Group share the objective of revitalizing and cultivating the environment especially our seascapes,” Tungpalan added. (Contributed by Sarangani Energy Corporation for SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

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