A Retired Couple Runs A Successful Aquaculture Business With Their Millennial Son
Agriculture|August 2019

8 TREASURES is a bangus (milkfish; Chanos chanos), alimasag (mangrove or mud crab; scylla serrata), and sugpo (tiger prawn; Penaeus monodon) farm located in Lubao, Pampanga. The area is comprised of fishponds that span different municipalities, some of which can only be reached by boat. The ponds are separated by dikes—strips of land where people can cross, some of which are equipped with wooden slats that, when piled on top of each oother, can be used to control how much water gets in and out of a pond.

Yvette Tan

The fishery started about seven years ago by Pepe and Pat Cruz in a different barangay. Pepe used to work in a private corporation while Pat was a housewife and real estate agent. Unfortunately, that first pond flooded every year, so they had to give it up.

The current ponds are run by their son Patrick, 36, who is Operations Manager, with Pat as Finance Officer. “Patrick and I… like the idea of growing seafood,” Pat said, adding that it was mother and son who convinced Pepe to give the business a try. “My husband didn’t want it at first. We had major disagreements before (he agreed).”

Patrick studied nursing, but graduated at a time when job prospects were drying up. “It was exactly when we acquired this,” he said.

The Cruzes have added 10 hectares (the average size of a pond) to their ponds every year, so what started out as 12 hectares is now 83.5 hectares spread across three barangays.

MONITORING AND MAINTENANCE

“The first thing for me is monitoring from day one to harvest,” Pat said.”Monitoring is important because you can track progress.”

Of the three, king prawns are the most sensitive, and there are times when the entire stock die for no reason. Like with any livestock, daily monitoring is important, especially after two months, when growth and progress can be seen with the naked eye and health and the fry can be held for inspection. Even then, the prawns are so sensitive that this is no guarantee of a big harvest.

Water quality, salinity (amount of salt contained per volume), and temperature are important. Prawns need a salinity level of 15-20% (within the range for brackish water), while the crabs can survive at higher levels. “The higher the salinity, the better, (but) 25% is preferred,” Pepe said. There are instruments for teting salinity, as well as other factors like pH, dissolved oxygen, and temperature. The ponds have to have a pH level of 6.5-7.5 and a temperature of 30 degrees Celcius.

There are many factors to consider in keeping fishponds at optimum levels of production. The most important—and the most unpredictable—is the weather. “Too much rain can bring down the pondwater’s salinity and affect growth,” Patrick explained. “And strong rains could damage the dikes.”

Heavy rains can also raise the water level, allowing creatures from one pond to mix with other ponds nearby, a scenario everyone wants to avoid.

Not necessarily tied to the weather are water-borne diseases that can kill off entire harvests over many fishponds. Many of these have no cure, and the only way to rid the ponds of them is to change their water. “It can be arrested but there will be a lot of casualties, so you can’t expect a bumper harvest,” Pat said. “We don’t know exactly what causes it. There might be a virus in the water.”

“When this happens, it isn’t just one pond that’s affected, but everybody’s as well,” Patrick expounds. “Our theory is that the river water isn’t as clean as it used to be.”

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM AGRICULTUREView All

REMINDERS WHEN GETTING GOOD AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES CERTIFICATION FOR CORN FARMING

AS PER THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (DA), Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) is a set of guidelines to ensure safety and quality in fruit and vegetable production. A webinar series hosted by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) Central Luzon talks about these Good Agricultural Practices, particularly for corn farming.

4 mins read
Agriculture
March - April 2021

FORMER SALES ASSOCIATE NOW RUNS HIS OWN SEEDLING BUSINESS WITHOUT OWNING LAND

AS OPPOSED to what many people think, one doesn’t have to buy a lot in order to start a farm business. Arnel Tandang, 50, operations manager and owner of AGT Seedlings Supply, proves that establishing an agricultural enterprise is possible even if you don’t own property.

4 mins read
Agriculture
March - April 2021

SECOND TIME'S A CHARM: NORTH COTABATO FARMER FINDS PROFIT IN NATURAL FARMING

FARMING is one of the sources of income at Aleosan municipality, North Cotabato. Vicente S. Cornelio, Jr Tatay Sinon to friends, from Barangay Palacat is one such farmer.

5 mins read
Agriculture
March - April 2021

PASSION FOR COFFEE LED A UK NATIONAL TO START A PLANTATION IN BATANGAS

COFFEE has become an important element in starting one’s day. A fresh cup can awaken the senses and help many face the day. Apart from this, the beverage has a wide range of flavors and aromas that people can change according to their preference. Still, the taste of pure, quality coffee can speak for itself even without sugar, cream, and other additions.

5 mins read
Agriculture
March - April 2021

FARMING FAMILY TURNS COCONUT PLANTATION INTO THRIVING INTEGRATED FARM

THERE’S A SAYING THAT GOES, “the family that prays together stays together.” This can also be the same for the family who farms.

9 mins read
Agriculture
March - April 2021

REVOLUTIONIZING PHILIPPINE FISH FARMING AQUACULTURE COMPANY GROWS TILAPIA IN INDOOR CONCRETE TANKS

WHEN ENGAGING IN BUSINESS, it pays to have a competitive edge or unique selling point to be able to rise above competitors in the market. These advantages can come in different forms such as products, services, and technology.

7 mins read
Agriculture
March - April 2021

HOMEOWNER TURNS THEIR STORAGE AREA INTO A REFRESHING DINING AND GARDEN SPACE

A HOME holds a special place in Filipino culture. It’s both an area for personal relaxation as well as for entertaining guests.

2 mins read
Agriculture
March - April 2021

TOUCHED BY THE SUN'S RAYS: BUKIDNON TRIBAL COOPERATIVE PRODUCES AWARD-WINNING COFFEE

THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF BUKIDNON have been growing coffee for a long time, but it wasn’t until 2017 that their efforts were recognized on an international scale.

4 mins read
Agriculture
March - April 2021

A PRIMER ON FREE RANGE CHICKEN PRODUCTION AND MANAGEMENT PART 1: BREEDS AND HOUSING

CHICKENS are the main source of some dinner table essentials such as eggs and meat. To meet the large demand of products, most chicken farms breed their chickens indoors in wire cages or similar conditions to properly manage the layers or broilers.

4 mins read
Agriculture
March - April 2021

Farming In Times Of Pandemic

One of the most pleasant surprises of the pandemic is the sudden trend of urban gardening and backyard farming. The scarcity of some basic supplies, coupled with the “stay at home” policy has encouraged people to get interested in growing their own food.

4 mins read
Agriculture
March - April 2021
RELATED STORIES

‘Fishing' For A Fillet Knife?

The right tool can make unpleasant jobs more bearable.

9 mins read
American Survival Guide
March 2021

Landing a Lifeline

For those whose livelihood depends on the ocean, a covid-spurred interruption in the seafood market might speed progress toward a more sustainable future—for them and for fish.

10+ mins read
Popular Science
Winter 2020

The World is Our Oyster

New Yorkers are resilient. As the song, “New York, New York” goes, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. There’s no better example of a tough, hard-working New Yorker than the mighty oyster.

4 mins read
Faces - The Magazine of People, Places and Cultures for Kids
April 2020

A Fish Pond Fable

A little work (and money) can create the water feature you want.

2 mins read
Baltimore magazine
April 2020

Casualties - Three Die After Tanker, Fishing Boat Collide In Fog Near Galveston

One fisherman died and two are missing and presumed dead after a chemical tanker and fishing boat collided near Galveston, Texas, in heavy fog.

2 mins read
Professional Mariner
March 2020

The Art Of Becoming Fishermen

A voyaging couple's halting efforts learning to gather food from the sea.

9 mins read
Ocean Navigator
March/April 2020

Farm To Dining Hall Table

At this island school, students have a hands-on approach to eating local.

6 mins read
Muse Science Magazine for Kids
February 2020

Bulls On Parade

When the fall window for giant redfish opens, let the mayhem blow in

3 mins read
Field & Stream
October - November 2019

Madison River Fly Fishing: 5 Tips For The Fall

Madison river fly fishing is possibly at its best in October.

2 mins read
Montana Hunting & Fishing News
October 2019

A Whole Different Animal - Wild Cats that Got the Cream

MOST ANGLERS HAVE STRONG BELIEFS ABOUT WHAT HULL TYPE IS BEST. Running hard in rough water requires a seaworthy platform with the strength and stability to keep you safe, comfortable and dry. Among the different trends that have consequently become evident from the evolution of center consoles, boat builders are cornering a new niche of complex and competitive catamarans harnessing more outboard power than ever before. Breaking the barrier with innovative hull designs and deck layouts, the newest catamarans offer unobstructed fishability while providing increased fuel economy and speed per applied horsepower.

10 mins read
Florida Sport Fishing
September/October 2019