Fish farmers affected by blue mussels

WHAT was considered a good thing before is now viewed as a curse.

The blue mussels introduced in Dagupan City’s rivers a few years ago described as a boon to the fishery industry has been called out as a bane, wrecking havoc in the livelihood of fish farmers in the city.

According to Marvin Asis of the City Agriculture Office (CAO), the city’s rivers are now teeming with blue mussels multiplying rapidly and stick to the nets of fish cages hindering the flow of of water through the cages.

Speaking during a committee hearing conducted on Tuesday by the city council on the proposed Dagupan Comprehensive Development Plan for 2017 to 2022, De Asis said the presence of the blue-lipped mussels has severely affected many fish cages, forcing many fish farmers to constantly change and replace their nets, a costly and needless endeavor.

The need to constantly replace the net has forced many fish farmers to give up maintaining their fish cages.

However, Westly Rosario, chief of the Dagupan-based National Integrated Fisheries Technology and Development Center (NIFTDC), does not consider the blue-lipped mussels as bane but rather a boon.

He said aside from being a source of protein food, the blue-lipped mussels can give result in two other profitable industries in Dagupan–duck raising as well as crab raising.

Rosario said the blue-lipped mussels can be pulverized and used as alternate feeds for ducks and crabs.

He cited the first crab farm in Dagupan owned by former Speaker Jose De Venecia located in Sitio Watac, Barangay Mamalingling, Dagupan City, that can devour the blue mussels without these being pulverized.

The city’s fish farmers have asked the city government assistance to help contain the spread of blue mussels in rivers that said severely affected their production of milkfish and other fish species. (Leonardo Micua)