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AQUA PLUS Gives Hope to Beleaguered Prawn Industry in Magallanes, Agusan del Norte

August 14, 2008 was just another ordinary day for the rest of the townsfolk in Magallanes, Agusan del Norte. But in the three-hectare pond of Mr. Jimmy Viray in Barangay Caloc-an of this town, it was a red letter day brimming with excitement, teeming with hope. It was another harvest time but what made it extraordinary and significant was that for the first time in six years, Mr. Viray and his men were going to harvest prawns that have completed one full cropping period. Their prawns lasted 120 days. While the other ponds were forced to harvest at 60 days due to early signs of inevitable high mortality, theirs had remained intact and had miraculously overcome the 60-day syndrome.

Mr. Viray’s pond is the first Demo Pond of Aqua Plus in the area and the first to use it. Aqua Plus, a liquid concentrate of live beneficial microorganisms and one of the brands of Bio Organic Plus Philippines, Inc., producer of probiotic products. The venture was financed by the BCB-MPC (Baug CARP Beneficiaries-Multipurpose Cooperative) of which Mr. Viray is a member. Together with technician Mr. Manulito V. Porio and caretaker Mr. Elgenio Pilo, they raised their hopes for a better produce using Aqua Plus Brand for the entire period.

Prawn industry in Magallanes and nearby towns used to be very lucrative and enriching venture. Until 2002, a plague called white spot virus invaded and contaminated all the ponds and for those which persisted, emergency harvest at 60 dayS became a byword, for if not done, the virus would give them 100 percent mortality and zero income. For a three-hectare pond with 150,000 stockings, it used to give them 2.5-3 tons (2,500 – 3,000 kilograms) of prawns but with the onset of the virus, they had to be contented with 100-300 kgs. per harvest. Most of them wondered how they could ever get out of the plague.

If there’s one thing Aqua Plus has given them – it is a ray of hope, a glimmer of possibility that all will be well again. With the 40,000 fry of prawns Mr. Porio had stocked, they harvested a total of 1.02 tons (1,020 kgs.) of healthy, smooth and shiny shelled prawns with an average body weight (ABW) of 30-35 grams. Mortality was at 15 percent and 75 percent was of export quality. For a pond that has long been barren, the result was uplifting and encouraging indeed, for a start.

Aqua Plus brand is designed to upgrade and cleanse the pond and other sea farms the natural way. It works by killing the harmful bacteria and viruses while helping multiply the good microorganisms. it also detoxifies the water and neutralizes soil acidity of the pond bottom including algal growth and plankton build up which are the natural food of prawns and fish. It is an excellent tool for healing and rehabilitating a pond and maintaining it healthy so that prawns and other marine life will have nourishing environment. One is right in saying by feeding the pond, you are feeding the prawns.

By Dra. Jayzl Monton-Rabisanto, M.D.