In April 2012 we were invited to the rehabilitated Pantal River in Dagupan City to witness a new system of oyster farming that is productive and environment friendly. That was two years after they adopted the floating raft technique of growing oysters.
For many years, thousands of fishcages were constructed in the river by big financiers for the culture of bangus. This caused a lot of pollution and siltation making it a sick river. It took political will to demolish the fishcages. And the river was dredged and rehabilitated at a cost of P6-million.
The floating raft technique of culturing oysters was developed. In the traditional system of growing oysters, bamboo poles were erected in the river where the spats or baby oysters attached themselves. That’s not good, according to Emma Molina, the city agriculturist who was a fisheries expert. Why no good? The bamboo poles impeded the fee flow of water.
Under the new system, a bamboo raft is used. The raft floats and strips of rubber (the interior of truck tire) are attached under the raft. The spats attach themselves to the rubber strips about two meters long. In about eight months the oysters would be ready for harvesting. What’s good with oysters is that they don’t need commercial feed. Initial trials in growing oysters in floating rafts have been very successful. The cultured oysters were very fleshy.