MANILA — In the Philippines, particularly in most seafood restaurants, mussels are one of staple offerings. Some offer them baked, while others prefer to have them plain with soup.

The fact that the country is surrounded with bodies of water enables fisherfolk to get many of these.

However, if the management or the way they grow these is insufficient, science says this would result to mussels that are poor in quality, small in size, and thus having low meat content.

According to the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD), the usual way of growing mussels in the country is through the “stake” method”. Here, young mussels could freely attach to bamboo poles that were placed in coastal areas.

To improve the green mussels production, DOST-PCAARRD has funded a project promoting the “Pinoy longline method”. The project was implemented by the University of the Philippines Visayas, Samar State University, and Capiz State University.

DOST-PCAARRD said that “longline” is a culture system originally developed in New Zealand, where high-quality mussels are produced. It added that Filipino mussel farmers can adopt this method, too.

The agency said the Filipino version is composed of a 50-meter main line made of 20-mm polypropylene rope.

In this main line, black plastic containers will be attached to serve as main buoy. DOST-PCAARRD described that the black plastic containers were the ones formerly used in transporting oil and soy sauce.

How to do it? On both ends of the main line, two plastic drums with polyethylene rope tied around its body will serve as end buoys.

Place concrete anchors on both sides of the “longline” to maintain it and prevent it from moving.

Meanwhile, for stocking, PCAARRD said mussel socks made of two-meter long 10-mm polyethylene rope with cylindrical cement, weighing one kilogram at the bottom, are used in this method.

It added that about 200 pieces of mussel spats are placed in one-meter mussel sock. Mussel socks must be tied to the “longline” at 50 cm interval.

PCAARRD explained that since no bamboo poles are used in this kind of method, it will not cause sedimentation in the culture areas.

The “stake” method, on the other hand, increases sedimentation in mussel beds, which causes the culture area to be shallow. Ma. Cristina C. Arayata/