Vincent Encena II, specialist of Iloilo-based Southeast Asia Fisheries Development Center Aquaculture Department (SEAFDEC-AQD), said Mindanao could cultivate abalone due to favorable sites, weather and availability of seaweeds.
He identified Misamis Oriental, Surigao del Sur and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), particularly Tawi-tawi and the Sulu group of islands, where tropical abalone wild stocks may be found and are potential areas for prospective abalone farms. Encena also mentioned that Siargao Island, Sarangani province and General Santos City, with their numerous tuna-canning facilities, have the biggest potential areas for abalone growing and processing.
Abalone, a shallow ear-shaped shell and pierced with respiratory holes, is considered a delicacy in Asia. It thrives under the rocks and coral rubble and is known for its sweet firm meat.
Encena said canned abalone is one of the preferred product forms in the Chinese market, which is the biggest market for abalone in the world. Abalone may be sold for P750 to P800 per can in the local market and more if sold in the export market, he added. He said while a container load of canned tuna is valued at $40,000, the same container load of canned abalone would have a value of around $390,000. (Manila Bulletin)