Monday, February 26Food Security Matters

Grouper Farming in the Philippines: How to Grow and Raise Lapu-Lapu

Grouper farming in the Philippines is a growing profitable fishery business for many fishermen due to the fish’s expensive price. If you are looking to venture into grouper farming, continue reading.

Groupers (Epinephelus spp.), locally known as lapu-lapu or inid, are high-value species with great potential in aquaculture. They are valued for their excellent texture and flavor. The demand for grouper in the local and international markets is fast-growing, particularly in Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and Singapore. Fry is also potentially available any time of the year since broodstock spawns all year round.

Grouper fish farming is an incredibly lucrative business for those who are willing to put in the effort. With the rising demand for grouper and its unique flavor, knowing how to properly care for and grow grouper can be a real boon to your career as a fisherman. In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about grouper fish farming, from the basics of setting up a tank to caring for the fish once they’re in it. Dive into this ultimate guide and learn all you need to know about growing and harvesting these tasty creatures!

grouper-fish-farming
Farmed Grouper

Introduction to Grouper Farming

Grouper fish are a type of fish that is typically found in saltwater environments. They are a popular choice for aquariums and fish tanks for hobbyists because of their wide variety of colors and patterns. Groupers are also known to be very friendly fish, which makes them a great addition to any home aquarium.

If you’re thinking about starting a grouper fish farm, there are a few things you need to know. First, grouper fry (baby fish) is very delicate and needs to be kept in pristine water conditions. This means you’ll need to have a large tank or pond with filtration and aeration systems in place. You’ll also need to feed your fry live food, such as brine shrimp or bloodworms.

As your fry grows, it can be transitioned to a pelletized diet. Once they reach adulthood, groupers are relatively easy to care for and can even be kept in smaller tanks or ponds. However, it’s important to remember that these fish do grow quite large (up to 3 feet in some cases!) so you’ll need to accommodate their size as they mature.

If you’re interested in starting a grouper fish farm, the first step is to do your research and make sure you have the proper set-up and supplies in place. With a little bit of effort, you can create a thriving business raising these beautiful and unique fish!

Types of Grouper Fish to Culture

Three main types of grouper fish are commonly cultured: the giant grouper (Epinephelus lanceolatus), the brown-marbled grouper (Epinephelus fuscoguttatus), and the tiger grouper (Epinephelus tigris).

The giant grouper is the largest of the three, reaching up to 2.5 meters in length and weighing up to 400 kg. It is a popular choice for fish farming due to its fast growth rate and high potential yield.

The brown-marbled grouper is smaller than the giant grouper, only growing up to 1.8 meters in length and weighing up to 100 kg. It has a more delicate flavor than the other two types of grouper, making it a popular choice for restaurants and hotels.

The tiger grouper is the smallest of the three, only reaching up to 1 meter in length and weighing up to 20 kg. It has very firm flesh with a strong flavor, making it a good choice for those who like their fish with a bit more of a kick.

Steps to Set Up a Grouper Fish Farm

Grouper culture has three phases (1) the hatchery rearing where larvae are reared from hatching until 60 days, (2) the nursery rearing where fish is
cultured for 1-2 months, and (3) the grow-out stage where fish is reared for 6-8 months. Grouper should be sorted and size graded during the late hatchery and nursery stage to prevent cannibalism. Other routine procedures include feeding, net maintenance, stock sampling, and monitoring water quality. Groupers can reach the market size of 300-350 grams in 5-7 months when 2.5-3 inches of fry are stocked.

Hatchery phase

Collecting of grouper fry in rearing tanks

  • Stock 20-30 larvae/liter in 3-25 tons rearing tanks. Grouper larvae are available at SEAFDEC/AQD’s marine fish hatchery
  • Feed larvae with Nannochlorum, rotifer, Artemia, and artificial diet
  • Transfer larvae to marine cages or to brackishwater ponds when larvae reach the length of 2-3 cm for nursery rearing

Nursery phase

Stock 2-3 cm fry in 1 x 2 x 1.5 m hapa nets at 75-100 fry/m3 set inside the floating net cages. Uniform fry size should be strictly observed during stocking

  • Install hover-type lamp to attract grouper prey such as copepods, mysids, young fishes, and crustacean larvae
  • Feed fry with artificial diet or finely chopped frozen or fresh low-value fish 4-6 times a day
  • Transfer fry to grow-out cages or ponds after 45-60 days or when
    total length is 6-10 cm

Grow-out phase

  1. Stock 6-10 cm juveniles in ponds at 5,000-10,000 juveniles/hectare or floating net cages at 15-20 juveniles/m3
  2. Feed juveniles with fresh or frozen chopped fish daily at 10% of average body weight (ABW) or an artificial diet at 3% ABW, with half of the ration given early in the morning and the other half late in the afternoon
  3. When fish are about 200 grams, reduce feeding frequency to once daily with fresh or frozen chopped fish at 5% ABW or artificial diet at 2% ABW. The feed should be given in small quantities, enough for fish to swallow when they come up during feeding
  4. Regularly check and immediately repair damaged nets
  5. Harvest fish after 5-7 months or when fish reach the market size of 300-350 gram

Site Selection for Sea Cages

  • Minimal pollution
  • Protected from adverse weather conditions
  • Accessible but secure from poachers
  • At least 3 m deep at the lowest low tide and away from seagrasses & coral beds

For Brackishwater ponds

  • A sufficient source of seawater or brackishwater
  • 18-32 ppt water salinity
  • 27-30°C water temperature
  • The dissolved oxygen of the water should be 4-8 ppm
  • Soil substrate should be clay, clay-loam, or sandy-clay
  • Minimal pollution
  • Accessible but free from poachers

Is grouper farming and aquaculture profitable?

Live grouper sold in the market fetch a higher price compared to other fishes grown in Southeast Asia. The demand is year-round, and the live fish trade is expanding. However, the local supply has been very limited due to overfishing, the destruction of habitats, and higher price offered in the international market.

In the Philippines, the current local market price for live grouper is ₱350 per kilogram or higher.

Technical assumptions

  • Size of the net cage –  5 x 5 x 3 m
  • Total number of net cages per module-  6 units
  • Stocking rate per net cage –  15-20 juveniles/m3
  • Size of initial stock –  2.5-3 in
  • Total number of stocks in 1 module –  9,000 pcs
  • Culture period  – 5-7 months
  • Survival rate –  85-90%
  • Average body weight at harvest –  300-350 g
  • Croppings per year  – 1.5
  • Total harvest –  720 kg-840 kg
  • Farm gate selling price –  PhP 350.00
  • Feed conversion ratio  – 5:1

Costs-and-returns

  • Revenue (PhP) –  302,400
  • Total variable cost (PhP) –  153,066
  • Total fixed cost (PhP)  – 38,104
  • Return on investment (%) –  59

Common Problems in Grouper Fish Farming and Solutions

Grouper fish are a popular type of seafood that is often consumed by humans. They are a delicious and healthy option that can be found in most grocery stores. However, grouper fish farming is not without its challenges. Here are some common problems that farmers face, as well as some solutions:

Problem #1: Grouper fish are susceptible to several diseases and parasites.

Solution: It is important to regularly monitor the health of your grouper fish and treat them promptly if they become sick. You should also consider using preventative measures, such as vaccinations, to help keep your fish healthy.

Problem #2: Grouper fish require a large amount of food.

Solution: To ensure that your grouper fish have enough to eat, you will need to provide them with a high-quality diet. This can be accomplished by feeding them a variety of foods, including pellets, live prey, and frozen foods.

Problem #3: Grouper fish produce a large amount of waste.

Solution: Grouper fish farms should have good filtration systems in place to help remove the waste that the fish produce. Additionally, regular water changes will also help keep the water clean and free of contaminants.

Questions Related to Grouper Farming

Is grouper a farmed fish?

Most grouper are currently farmed in Asia, in countries such as China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, and Vietnam. Farms may use water recirculation tanks on land, net cages at sea, or coastal ponds.

Do groupers grow fast?

Grouper growth rates are slow, averaging approximately four inches (10 cm) per year until the age of six years. Growth declines to about 1.2 inches (3 cm) per year at age 15, and less than . 4 inches (1 cm) per year after 25 years. They are relatively slow-growing and take five to seven years to reach sexual maturity. Farmed grouper, however, can reach market size and be harvested in 7 to 8 months.

What is grouper fish in Filipino?

The grouper, locally known as lapu-lapu, is a highly esteemed food fish in the Philippines.

Can grouper survive in freshwater?

There are aquarium keepers that have kept bumble bee groupers successfully in freshwater for several years but this is not recommended and they will eventually need to be moved to saltwater environments.

What do grouper fish eat?

They habitually eat fish, octopuses, and crustaceans. Some species prefer to ambush their prey, while others are active predators. Reports of fatal attacks on humans by the largest species, such as the giant grouper (Epinephelus lanceolatus), are unconfirmed.

What type of grouper is lapu-lapu?

Groupers (Epinephelus spp.), locally known as lapu-lapu or inid, are high-value species with great potential in aquaculture. They are valued for their excellent texture and flavor.

How much is grouper fish in the Philippines?

In the Philippines, the current local market price for live grouper is ₱350 per kg or higher.

How big can a grouper grow?

These gentle giants are goliath grouper, the largest of the groupers in the Atlantic basin. Goliath grouper, which were once known as jewfish, can grow to more than eight feet in length and 800 pounds.

Is grouper a good quality fish?

This type of fish has a very mild flavor (somewhere in between seabass and halibut) with a light, sweet taste, and large, chunky flakes, almost like lobster or crab. Thanks to its subtle flavor that easily absorbs dressings and marinades, grouper is excellent however you serve it.

What is the rarest grouper?

The Warsaw grouper is among the rarest of its kind, though it’s not the largest. The Goliath grouper, which also lives in the Atlantic Ocean, can weigh as much as 363 kilograms (800 pounds).

What is the best type of grouper?

The scamp grouper is highly prized and known to be the best tasting among the group, making it a great table fare. It features a mild and distinct flavor comparable to that of a halibut or sea bass. The white meat, sweet taste, and chunky flakes of this fish give it its excellent food value.

Conclusion

Grouper fish farming is quickly becoming an in-demand industry, and it’s not hard to see why. With its high demand and potential for big profits, grouper farming can be a great way to make money while also helping the environment. We hope that this ultimate guide has given you the knowledge and confidence needed to get started on your own grouper farm. Best of luck!

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