Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 35
Like Tree21Likes

Building a Small Lobster Hatchery here in the Philippines


This discussion is about "Building a Small Lobster Hatchery here in the Philippines" in the "Business, Finance & Economics Discussions" forums.
Well over the years I have posted threads on the subject of fish farming and lobster huts because not only are they an interest to ...

  1. #1
    Senior Member jamesmusslewhite's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    855

    Default Building a Small Lobster Hatchery here in the Philippines


    Well over the years I have posted threads on the subject of fish farming and lobster huts because not only are they an interest to me but I see them as a sound investment capable of generating sound consistent profits; for this reason fish ponds and lobster huts can be a viable business venture for fellow expats who are looking for possible revenue streams to subsidize their incomes. Since I have moved in the Surigao City/Dinagat Island area in 2008 I have built three small lobster huts two of which were built recently. Raising lobsters is a good venture for investment due to the high demand and expanding export market and relatively low start up costs. I choose to raise lobsters in very small amounts in what I guess could be considered the proverbial 'big toe' testing the waters before investing any large sum into the venture. In fact I kept the venture more as a rather enjoyable hobby for the most part, as the lobster huts made for a great little getaway spot which also allowed us to occasionally drop a few tasty little sea bugs in the steamer. A steamed lobster along side a nice seared piece of dead cow and some fresh vegetables is a rather nice treat from time to time.

    The largest and certainly the most common problem one experiences when trying to begin and operate long-term fish farms and lobster huts is locating a consistent and healthy source of fish and lobster fingerlings to drop into the nets. In the case of lobsters this is especially true as there is an ever increasing number of those engaged in raising lobsters but currently the demand for lobster fingerlings is far out-stripping the available supply. The reason for this restriction of supply is due to the fact that most lobster fingerlings are live-catch from the waters and oceans around the islands of the Philippines and are therefore more seasonal. Being live-catch the supply is dependent on fishermen and their ability to locate and safely collect fingerlings. This current supply line is very labor intensive and at considerable investment and costs to the fishermen. Then there are the middlemen and handlers involved in the distribution of supply to the individual lobster growers. Often suppliers will ship their stock long distances with inadequate handling practices leading to extremely high loss of the fingerlings once they are delivered. Loses can easily be higher than 50% of the fingerlings purchased by the individual lobster growers. One soon realizes the potential environmental impact to the natural lobster populations in these surrounding waters but also the financial burden consistently burdened by the small growers. If a small grower purchases 100 fingerlings (AAA battery size) at 250php he has invested 25,000php and as a fair average at time of market each fingerling is 1//2 kilo in weight. So if the current market price from the lobster buyers is 2,200 php than the average market size of the lobster is 1/2 kilo than the grower can expect each of his 100 fingerlings to fetch an average of 1,100php each, therefore his initial investment of 25,000php can potentially yield a net price of 110,000; then of course one has to consider his 8-12 month in raising the fingerlings which involves his labor costs, feed, fuel, personal expenses, ect.

    He can still have a profit and have his seed money for the next new crop of fingerlings. But if he experienced a 50% lost the first three weeks after he received his shipment of fingerlings then in reality he did not pay 250php each for 100 fingerlings, rather he in fact paid 500php each for 50 fingerlings which cuts his net yield at market to only 55,000php and would have still had the same extra expenses incurred during the 8-12 months the fingerlings were in this nets. Sad thing is it is not uncommon to have loses of 70% or more, most I would venture was do to improper care and handling while in the hands of the suppliers and transporters They still keep their profits and they offer no refunds so the burden of the loss financially is solely shouldered by the small independent lobster grower. Greed is now driving the costs for fingerlings even higher virtually placing a stranglehold on the small growers. Those who can invest in much larger volumes can more easily saddle this loss and still generate sizable profits. It does not exactly take an Einstein or a Hawkins to see there must be a better ways and an opportunity to workout a viable solution and create a new market opportunity.

    This realization along with a lose of 70% from a bad crop of delivered fingerlings is what initially inspired me to devote the last five years researching the biology of lobsters and study the viability and the various processes required to try to farm raise lobsters. So in early 2010 I began to try to seek out any reliable source of information I could find on the internet. I have to say that information is sketchy at best and one really has to dig to locate any useful information, and though there have been facilities raising lobster larvae for well over 100 years most available information is on the cold water clawed lobster varieties. There is really very little on the tropical varieties such as the 'Panulirus ornatus' commonly named Ornate Spiny Lobster and their 11 larval stages. One can only piece together the layouts of current facilities being used around the world from vague references written in published papers, photos and various short glimpses in videos posted on the internet. So as I was conducting the research I was taking mental notes and started making sketches of the different equipment that these various facilities needed to successfully develop a working lobster hatchery. What I soon realized was the sheer expense and size of these facilities making them impractical for a normal investor to construct with an eye for generating enough profits to make such a venture worth the immense investment. There is a reason they are all nonprofit entities requiring government, university and corporate sponsored. I soon realized that the old mindset needed to be totally scrapped and that I needed to try to figure out if a little adaptation, redneck ingenuity and looking at the problem through a poor man's eye. How could a system be simplified and streamlined to the point a small facility could be built using mostly common items at a cost where a small investor or group of investors could afford to build?


    I would have to redesign the floor plans, equipment, and the various processes, I would need to incorporate a way to provide the adequate feed requirements at each stage of larvae development while remaining environmentally-friendly. Try to design the facility to remain fully operational during long-term electrical brownouts or even where it could be totally independent from the local electric power grid through the incorporation of alternative power sources and associated technologies. I would have to conceptually simplify, streamline and design a small working facility prototype along with all the equipment and processes associated with such a facility; which would be easily replicated even in the more remote areas, and most important a facility which would be profitable with low startup capital and low yearly operational and maintenance cost. Easy right? Well after over six years I am finally able to take what has been merely conceptional to this point and have started building my little prototype facility. I can prove my concept can actually be a reality. If my concept proves to meet or exceed my minimum production figures it would be something that could revolutionize and energize the one factor restricting a growing industry The ability to cost effectively provide healthy lobster fingerlings to small growers and a cost where they can increase profits and help further stimulate the economies in more rural committees throughout these islands. A month ago we made the move from our farm to a small residence my business partner built for my wife and I to stay while working on this venture. The location has the perfect topography for such a facility to be successful.

    I will be posting photos and videos on this thread as this project progresses through all the various stages. This project involves many different aspects other than just building the hatchery as reliable power backups are going to be required. I will be designing and constructing solar panel arrays, tidal flow generators using paddle wheels and wind generators using windmills. Also I will eventually require both freshwater and saltwater floating net cages, floating walkways and platforms, boathouses and other equipment needed to raise a wide assortment of different freshwater and saltwater species and will eventually start a protected mariculture sanctuary. Once I have constructed the facility and all the floating net cage setups I will show how to establish a business as a lobster buyer and how to package and ship live lobster for world markets. So this thread will be covering a wide range of topics such as alternative power generation, mariculture, aquaculture, meat production, farm and gardening topics, in-depth freshwater/saltwater fish farming information and tips, and information of food requirements and feeding schedules. I should also add that the facility will first focus on lobster production but will later also include oysters, abalone, clams and other assorted mussels and crustaceans and crabs; as well as the primary food sources: shrimp, brine shrimp, rototillers, planktonic/benthic copepods and algae. Each will later be discussed in more detail as I build the setups for their production. There will be new information added weekly this project progresses.

    This thread is going to be much more than just talking about lobsters, I so hope members and those merely visiting the forum to view this thread will find it both informative and entertaining and well worth following for the many months to come.

  2. #2
    Senior Member jamesmusslewhite's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    855
    This is the species known as 'Panulirus ornatus' aka (Fancy Spiny or Rock Lobster) and this will be the species I will primarily specializing in producing this facility for the markets. There is also a local variety of lobster found in the waters here I also intend on trying to raise but though the local species actually brings a higher price from buyers I intend to primarily raise them to be free-released back into the local waters to help insure their population remains vibrant and healthy The 'P. ornatus' is species most raised to be sold to buyers and currently the price offered by buyers for this species is 2,200php per kilo. The average market size of an individual 'P. ornatus' lobster is 1/2 kilo and above. A lobster to reach market size from a fingerling (AAA battery size) is usually 10-14 months, and from a fingerling (AA battery size) approximately 8-10 months depending on their care and feeding..



    The real problem with the industry is the strain on the natural supply of lobster fingerlings. The industry will eventually totally outstrip the supply. Factors like pollution, Red Tides, dynamite fishing and destruction of ocean mariculture will simply not allow the present strain on their natural population. Yet there are more growers entering the industry daily. Hatcheries are the only solution for the sustainability and growth of this industry.

    This overview is of the location where the hatchery is presently being built. The real jewel of this location is the small saltwater pond and the waters here around Surigao City, Dinaget Island and Siargao island is they are well upstream from any large urban area with water currents coming directly off the Philippine Seas and Pacific which flows inward and through the Surigao Straights. This means that the water is clean and free of the pollutants found in so many other locations around these islands.. This area is also free of the Red Tide events which decimates other areas. These waters still have a vibrant diverse natural fish populations and this area works diligently to protect and preserve the existing mangroves as well as vigorous mangrove replanting practices being conducted in this region. This makes it a natural mariculture fish nursery for a diverse array of mariculture and aquagic species. There has been a problem with dynamite damage in the past but they are trying to crackdown and prosecute them. I hope to use parts of the small island as a natural marine preservation sanctuary working with the regional authorities to relocate endangered species of corals so they can be protected and flourish so they can proliferate and help reseeding these waters so the corals can eventually try to recover. The clean steady currents can naturally redistribute spores and larvae around the islands in this region. It may only be a small drop in a huge bucket but at least it will be a drop.

    This is a picture of the small saltwater pond next to the house we are living in next to the old concrete structure that will be used to house the hatchery.


    Last edited by jamesmusslewhite; 10-23-2016 at 12:52 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member jamesmusslewhite's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    855
    The old concrete story has a rather strange story behind it. Seems that years ago it was part of a previous mariculture project ran by a Taiwan national. At the time there were large fish cages which was heavily guarded with armed guards who would deny access to any and all locals. The owner of the facility kept a small seagoing ship anchored off the island. Then it was discovered that the whole facility was just a front for a rather large shabo operation. When the PNP readied a raid to be done here it is believed the operators were tipped off allowing everyone time to jump on the little ship and steamed away full speed to parts unknown.

    My business partner eventually purchased all three titled tracts of the little island about a decade ago. He told me that the locals had stripped the structure down to the bare bones and then chewed on the bone. The old two story concrete structure will still serve it's purpose and will house all the saltwater tanks and equipment and serve as the heart of the hatchery. I will build a nepa roof between the first and second floor of the structure for now., and later I will add a second floor and the permanent metal roof placed on top of the 2-story structure. There is no reason to spend the money now on an expensive roof when it is really not needed, and once in production the profits generated will pay for the renovation.

    This how the inside looked when we first arrived as it was heavily overgrown.


    We started clearing the overgrowth just over 14 weeks ago and started gathering the materials needed to start on the roof construction. And it really felt gratifying finally after years of streamlining this project to finally take it from conceptual drawings and diagrams and finally start molding into a reality. The game is afoot.

    Now at the same time we are building the hatchery I also have to design gardens into a landscape, build some small chicken coops and rabbit hutches over the following weeks. Over the last few weeks we had deliveries of building materials, landscape plants and this morning we had a delivery of vegetables.

    The landscape design will primarily be vegetable and herb gardens with trellises along the fence line for climbing vegetables which will make for an attractive privacy screen while allowing substance for the table. We should start receiving deliveries of soils for the garden as well as bagging some quality soils from our own farm and transport them here in our boat. My business partner also loves orchids as much as I do so he has been delivering them here so I can use them in the landscape as well.



    Orchids are a subject I will be covering later as to their care, propagation and proper mounting. You can never have too many different species in your gardens.




    The more that is delivered means the more projects need to be started.
    Last edited by jamesmusslewhite; 10-23-2016 at 01:11 AM.
    kimmatrix_101 likes this.

  4. #4
    Senior Member jamesmusslewhite's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    855
    I have two really good workers on this project. The lead is a good carpenter and a quality mason which will be needed when I start constructing all the saltwater tanks. This is the basic floor plan done as a 3d rendering I made when designing the interior of the concrete structure. It shows the various saltwater tanks that will need to be constructed over the months to come. The only variation is that this drawing only shows 10 Stage IV larvae grow-out trays where this facility is designed to have 20 Stage IV grow-out trays, and shows only 10 larvae cone racks when there are actually 15 larvae cone racks.




    The drawing above is the actual 2D plat diagram of the actual floor plan of this facility, and the diagrams shows the actual scaled dimensions and proper placements of various saltwater tanks and all associated equipment within the facility that I am presently building. The interior floor space within the walls of this facility is (32.5 feet width X 64 feet length).
    Last edited by jamesmusslewhite; 10-23-2016 at 01:22 AM.
    kimmatrix_101 likes this.

  5. #5
    Senior Member jamesmusslewhite's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    855
    I am also maintaining two other mirrored threads on two different expat forums and the subject came up about raising tilapia fish. I personally plan on raising my tilapia in floating cage nets which I will be designing the cages so there is a lower compartment where I can raise prawns in the same cage. I am a strong proponent of multi-croping species whenever possible as it fully utilizes capacity and generated possible alternative revenue streams.

    Now I will be raising lobster fingerlings from egg/hatchings and also shrimp, brine shrimp, rotifers, copepods, and planktonic algae to be used for the daily food requirements of the first five stages of larvae growth in the hatchery. I will be using floating net cages in you crab pond and raise Tilapia and other assorted freshwater varieties and will be using multi-croping and prawns in the same cages. This only requires that I construct prawn sanctuaries in the bottom of my cage to keep them separated, and to chose fish species that can easily coexist inside my nets. Tilapia and prawns each take about 10 months to mature and can therefore be harvested at the same time. The prawns will also help keep the nets in my cages cleaner by consuming the spent food the Tilapia did not eat and the algae which naturally that collects at the bottom of the nets in these cages.


    'Asian Tiger Prawn' or 'Curry Tiger Prawn'

    When I have designed larger fish ponds to be used for aquaculture setups in the past I would always introduce the practice of multi-croping and use of prawns, snails and aquatic plants into my designs. This practice also reduces maintenance and allows additional protein sources to a system. I found an informative video on Youtube which will allow members to have more of an idea what I am talking about as he is incorporating something similar to what I have used in the past. The ones I used were a bit more complex as they were sectional (individual blocks) which were laid out like bricks covering the bottom of ponds or in the bottom of floating net cages. This allowed much more ease when harvested and I could rotate them so blocks of prawns could be harvested every month or two.

    excellent little video for those using aquaponic systems.
    https://youtu.be/lhPfKK6smLA

    One question I am often asked is what do I feed tilapia as I tend to lean towards organics and try to avoid commercial feeds as much as possible. When I get my small fish ponds dug next Spring and have my first tilapia and prawns in the nets I will me making my own feeds. I have found an excellent PDF which members can be used as a basic guide http://www.ctsa.org/files/publicatio...ual_secure.pdf but I also will using quite a few additional ingredients in my mix to maintain a higher protein diet to my fish. Some of these ingredients are unprocessed brown flower, crushed dried peas or beans, crushed dried boiled peanuts, crushed sun-dried boiled yellow squash, ground dried trash fish, coconut oil or palm oil, ground dried coconut meat and liver oil.

    Now for those who are wondering what you feed prawns and crayfish: They both eat basically the same diet. I prefer giving them a well balanced diet. Diced fish, minced shrimp, shelled peas, zucchini medallions, boiled yellow squash, zucchini medallions, brine shrimp, blood worms, minced earth worms, minces fly maggots, minced grub worms, minced coconut worms. You can actually find commercial bagged shrimp pellets but you want to specify sinking pellets and many dried shrimp pellets float primarily on the water surface. This does you little good when you are raising either prawns or crayfish alongside fish species as floating feed will be primarily eaten by the fish who are actually closest to the surface area where the feed is floating.

    If you ask for sinking pellets they will know what you are talking about. Some fish nibble at their young and crayfish will nibble on fish young. They do well with prawns as their growth characteristics, habitat needs and food requirements are compatible with tilapia. I have seen some decent Youtube videos on the subject of raising crayfish as well as prawns while doing research for this project I am presently on, and some show both being raised in home aquaponic systems in conjunction with fish stock.
    Last edited by jamesmusslewhite; 10-23-2016 at 01:37 AM.
    kimmatrix_101 likes this.

  6. #6
    Senior Member jamesmusslewhite's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    855
    If one looks real close at the photos you will see that the back half of the structure once had a second level floor. The roof rafters will sit on the outer concrete floor supports while the center of the rafters will simply rest on the concrete center beam. The front half of the structure does not have either the outer side concrete floor supports nor is there a concrete center beam. That means that heavy poles must be set in place to support the whole weight of the rafters and the nepa roofing for the front half of the structure.

    The project started yesterday morning and at quitting time this evening this as the progress so far. With luck the roof frame will be finished and ready for the nepa roofing and the guttering that I will be making to run down each side of the roof. The runoff will be caught by the cutters which will then send the rain water to stacks of rain barrels to be later used to water the gardens and grass lawn.





    One of the decisions for lowering the roof instead of putting the roof up on top of the structure was the decision to put a temporary nepa style roof. Having a roof covering that may need replacing before we were ready to put a much heaver permanent roof caused some concerns about possible safety issues. Also by lowering the roof as we are doing will allow the upper concrete walls to help shield the nepa roof from possible wind damage if we have a major storm move through the area.

    We do not want rainwater to be introduced to the floor sumps or the saltwater tanks. This would case the saltwater to become brackish and quickly change the water pH levels which could be catastrophic to Stage 1, 2 and 3 lobster larvae and cause a quick die-off. If the larger reserve saltwater tanks were to be contaminated by freshwater rains during the rainy season I would be unable to replace the saltwater as the rain's runoff would make the waters around the island to become brackish.

    The purity of the saltwater running through the system is paramount to help avoid unnecessary shock and possible mass die-off of stock. When dealing with numbers of between 6,000 to 10,000 lobster larvae in a single crop and a simple slip up could cause thousands of larvae loss virtually over night. The loss of just one larvae is the loss of 90php-350php depending on the size at the point of sale as a fingerling. Dropped in a net for 10 months and it is worth 1,200php minimum at point of sale. Now lose 4,000-10,000 larvae because of something really really simple or stupid and then do that three times in one year. Best have all your ducks in a row and contingencies i place. Then you have to still deal with the harsh reality that lobster larvae through Stage IV are very cannibalistic by nature. If you feed types and ratios are not just right they will gladly help eat through your profits.It is like Highlander to them, 'There can only be one'...
    *sludge* and kimmatrix_101 like this.

  7. #7
    Senior Member jamesmusslewhite's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    855
    I have designed a lot of different designs, sizes and configurations for floating net platforms and floating net cages over the last 25-30 years for both freshwater and saltwater as well as those to be used in the shallows and deep water. The ones I will be using here will be a smaller steadier design which I have used on many occasions that I have found to be easy to make, rather inexpensive, easy to work with and durable in moderate rough sea so they will be perfect here in the shallows and in the saltwater pond. This design is for a 10 foot x 10 foot PVC floating net cage.

    From my drawings it is very easy to figure out all the parts need to construct this cage design. I hope members will find it useful.




    You can easily adapt the setup using bamboo and 5 gallon water jugs as you flotation and cover with fish netting. They will easily last one season and allow you to separate and size what you catch. The help minimize lose of stock, you can accurately adjust your feeding ratios greatly reducing feed waste. This helps you to raise them like a crop and allows them to easily to reach a market size. The problem most encounter is trying to bring fish to market size in open mixed species ponds is the competition for feed by more abundant smaller stock makes the larger fish to stay more under weight and potential size. This means more time is needed to raise market size stock which greatly increases ones expense due to needing more feed than would be normally needed if caged raised. Plus during heavy rains and or rising water levels of rivers, streams or lakes your crop does not just simply swim away.
    kimmatrix_101 likes this.

  8. #8
    Senior Member jamesmusslewhite's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    855
    Now I love good food and I love lobster but I have not been raising them here in any sizable numbers. We have built a few lobster huts but to be honest they are mainly to serve as a private get-away spot as I have always loved living out over the water. In my youth my stepfather had a small house out in Bastrop Bay and Chocolate Bay South-East of Galveston not far from Angelton. I spent many a outing hunting ducks, gators and fishing in the baywaters of the Gulf of Mexico. I guess I do it to capture a bit of my youth perhaps to feel a little closer to my departed stepfather and mother as those times were some of my fondest memories as a young lad. Lobsters have not been a revenue stream, rather only a means to support a small hut in the mangroves and put a few from time to time in a steamer during a over-night or weekend gathering.

    The trick is to put enough fingerlings in your nets to insure you can eat all you want and at least still financially break even. This is what I have been doing for the last 4-5 years. We drop 50-100 fingerlings in our nets so we can eat enough to make us happy and then sell the rest (if any are left) and use the proceeds to seed the next crop of those tasty little sea bugs. Put a couple of one pound butter/beer steamed sea bugs on my plate along side a thick slice of medium-rare bullvine with sides of spicy camp-style dutch oven BBQ beans and Southern-style creamy mash potatoes w/brown skillet gravy and I will literately eat myself into a Garfield Coma...

    One venture I fully intend on doing later this year or early next year is start raising a couple of quality calves a year as freezer-suffers. I want to build a small 10 foot x 10 foot walk in refrigeration unit so I can properly hang and cure my meats and sausages. The beef here is always fresh cut which tends to always be a bit tougher than I like. This is because it simply has not properly had the hanging time to tenderize through curing.

    I also like a pit cooked pork, but I also really really miss a proper honey-cured ham that is smoked to perfection. My wife and I both agreed that I should plan on adding an addition to our little dirty kitchen and make a decent size smoker with a large side rack pit which is large enough to cook a whole boneless split-pig. This lechon method used here is good, but it just gets a bit old after a while and a little diversity is always good for the soul. I am a true blue Texas Southern Gulf Coast BBQ aficionado and I really miss quality hand-rubbed BBQ and sauces. Oh and I really really miss a Louisiana style smoked/grilled spicy Boudin sausage...

    besides a really good BBQ you should be able to eat it, drink it and wash your face in it all at the same time...
    Last edited by jamesmusslewhite; 10-23-2016 at 08:37 PM.
    kimmatrix_101 likes this.

  9. #9
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    30
    Which part if cebu are you stayin sir?

  10. #10
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    30
    Me and my uncle is planing to make a fish farm and hopefully try raising lobsters also but its true, fingerlings are not constant

  11.    Advertisement

Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast

Similar Threads

 
  1. Online Shop here in the Philippines
    By Imagine in forum Websites & Multimedia
    Replies: 56
    Last Post: 05-17-2018, 09:01 AM
  2. DIY watercooling ( here in the philippines )
    By EarlZ in forum Computer Hardware
    Replies: 91
    Last Post: 08-04-2016, 11:09 AM
  3. Freedom of expression here in the Philippines, what can you say?
    By Bolshoi in forum Politics & Current Events
    Replies: 68
    Last Post: 11-24-2015, 03:22 PM
  4. Parkour here in the Philippines
    By grupongbarbero in forum General Discussions
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 04-16-2014, 10:59 PM
  5. We should promote POKER here in the Philippines!!!Help us!!! Anyone!!!
    By SilverLining in forum Sports & Recreation
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 01-04-2009, 01:52 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
about us
We are the first Cebu Online Media.

iSTORYA.NET is Cebu's Biggest, Southern Philippines' Most Active, and the Philippines' Strongest Online Community!
follow us
#top