By Easter Anne Doza
Rare lobsters now find a breeding home in the waters of the Sagay Marine Reserve (SMR) as the local government of Sagay launches the pioneering lobster spawning project in Negros Island.
Two rare breed of lobster varieties – Spiny Lobster types which are Tiger Lobster (Panulirus Ornatus) and Live Bamboo Lobster (Panulirus Versicolor) – were set out to breed in underwater cages at SMR.
Sagay City Environment and Natural Resources chief Mayo Antonio Cueva said that this innovation shows the city government’s pursuit of environmental sustainability while helping the local economy by enhancing rare lobster stock in SMR.
The Sagay City CENRO and the SMR Office already initiated the release of a total of five Bamboo lobster species, three female and two female spawns; while for the tiger lobster breed, a total of two female and one male spawn were released at the marine reserve.
The lobster breeders were placed in an open-type cage system submerged at sea which allowed the lobsters to have a conducive environment for spawning while maintaining their natural habitat.
Cueva said that they are currently observing the survival rate of the released lobster eggs and they are hopeful for the project’s success in the long run.
“For every 50,000 eggs during the post-larval stage, only about two lobsters are expected to survive to legal size,” Cueva added.
Second District Representative and Chairperson of the House Committee on Aquaculture and Fisheries Resources Alfredo D. Marañon III commended the initiative for its proactive approach to addressing the decline of rare lobster species.
“It aligns with our shared vision of sustainable fisheries and marine conservation, will bolster the lobster population, and also serve as a model for other coastal communities in promoting responsible aquaculture practices,” Marañon added.
SMR was born out of the initiatives of the Sagay coastal communities and the local government for a marine conservation program which started in the 1970s until the Presidential Proclamation 592 in August 1995 declaring the 31,200 hectares of the city’s territorial waters as a protected seascape known as the Sagay Marine Reserve. SMR preserves and maintains a highly productive, biologically diverse, and ecologically balanced marine ecosystem through community-based management. (PIA)