By Danny O. Calleja
LEGAZPI CITY, July 29 The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is implementing a mechanized fish drying technology, on a pilot basis, in the municipality of Batuan of the Ticao Island in Masbate.
The new technology discard the old practice of sun drying, which is unsanitary and prone to microbial contamination.
Called the Mechanized Libod Fish Drying Technology, the project entails a funding of P572,000 under the DOST Grant-in-Aid program.
The grant-in-aid envisions to benefit the fish processing sector in the island of Ticao composed of Batuan, San Jacinto, San Fernando and Monreal, all coastal municipalities whose main economic activity is fishing.
Libod (dilis) is an abundant anchovy species which is available year-round at the fishing grounds of the island. It is being processed and preserved through the age-old practices.
The project was initially introduced in Batuan in partnership with its local government unit (LGU) under Mayor Charlie Yuson III. It is hoped that the project will be expanded to the other three municipalities.
The Batuan LGU-Batuan provided P800,000 as its counterpart fund that was used in the construction of the production building that was completed early this month, marking the start of the commercial operation of the mechanized fish dryer, DOST regional director for Bicol Tomas Briñas on Friday said .
Producing now quality dried libod fish through the mechanized technology is the 40-member Samahang Mangingisda ng Gibraltar (SAMAGI), a fishermen association registered with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) that had earlier sought the assistance of DOST in adopting an efficient and hygienic process, Briñas said.
The group is now using the equipment with a capacity of drying 200 kilograms of libod in one processing, he said. (PNA) RMA/LQ/DOC/cbd