ALAMINOS CITY – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Ilocos Regional office partnered with Japanese companies for the establishment of a hatchery and commercial production of sea urchin in this city and other coastal towns of Pangasinan and La Union.
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed on Wednesday between BFAR, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Kaientai Company Ltd. and and Sunnybing International Trading Corporation.
BFAR Regional Director Nestor Domenden said the agency’s mariculture and technology demonstration center and hatchery in Lucap would be used to produce and hatch eggs. The juvenile sea urchin would be distributed to local fishermen to culture in the sea.
The Kaietai, on the other hand, would provide the necessary technology to the project. Kaientai was able to acquire a grant from the JICA for the first phase of the project which is the hatchery operations.
Junji Mochida, president of Kaietai, said the company was interested in importing sea urchin from the Philippines because the sea products were “first class.”
“I have high expectations for the sea urchin production hatchery project. We can dream and must make the efforts to make the project successful so we can go into phase II,” he said.
Himomichi Toki, project coordinator of JICA’s Industrial Marketing Consultants, said while she can’t guarantee that the project’s second phase would be approved for funding, the BFAR and the involved companies can collaborate to pursue the project.
However, she was impressed by the strong links between the BFAR with the local officials and the farmers who are already farming sea urchin in this city and Bolinao town which she visited after the MOU signing.
Domenden said Japan eyed the Philippines for their sea urchin supply as the usual sources in South America are already depleted.
He said sea urchin farmers who want to sell their products to Japan would enter into a contract with Sunnybing which process the product for export to Japan.