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Mariculture is a marine-based industrial estate subdivided into farm plots for mariculture activities and has communal storm-resistant mooring system and boundary markers. The concept is centered upon the development of an industrial estate in the sea, wherein aquaculture plots are leased to investors and infrastructure (mooring systems, navigation lanes and docking areas) utilities (support facilities) and technical services are provided by the government. Mariculture is participatory which involves LGUs, Fisherfolk Organizations, NGAs and NGOs and embraces a holistic approach including infrastructure, capability building, production, marketing , environmental monitoring and other ancillary industries are addressed. The rationale behind the conceptualization of the project addresses the pressing issues on declining productivity and resource depletion from capture fisheries leading to displacement of fisherfolk and persistent poverty among coastal communities. The promotion of fish cage farming, sea ranching and other sustainable aquaculture technologies in the mariculture zone provides great option and promises as an alternative source of income for marginalized fishing communities. Mariculture sites are selected based on the presence of diverse and productive environment suitable for commercial mariculture development. The project should be accessible to existing infrastructure support in terms of fishport, ice plants, input supply and markets, etc. At present there are fifty (50) mariculture zones/park in the Philippines.

In Cagayan, Barangay Racat in Sta. Ana is chosen based on the assessment study conducted by the BFAR Central Office wherein 300 hectares can be developed for Mariculture Park/Zone. The bathymetric study shows that the depth ranges from 3 to 16 meters which is suitable to culture finfishes. The DO profile shows that the coastal waters are relatively clean and well oxygenated (>5mg/L). Based on the DENR DAO 34, which establishes the water quality standards for Philippine waters, the area can be feasible for fish culture. Temperature readings obtained across the study area is within the normal range for tropical marine waters. Data further showed uniform water temperatures over the water column. Salinity range is from 23 ppt to 31ppt. Lower salinity was observed near the river mouth. Results are within the normal range for tropical marine waters, this should be considered in the zoning plan and in the selection of the commodities to be culture. The pH reading obtained at strategic sampling points in the study area showed normal pH for tropical marine waters based on the DENR DAO 34.

Sta. Ana is a gateway to other ASEAN countries as it boasts of Port Irene which will facilitate transportation of goods. Marketing of produce is not a problem due presence of CEZA and various locators frequenting the area. There is an existing PLGU facility in the area which can house other structures to be established. Fish seeds of high value species like grouper, siganids, caranx, snappers are available within the province. Moreover, there are plenty of cheap labor that can be utilized in the area.

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