Seafood, fish products from Madridejos remain in demand amid pandemic
BANTAYAN ISLAND, Philippines — The coronavirus crisis has adversely affected nearly all sectors in Cebu, both small and large-scale.
But in the sleepy town of Madridejos, located approximately 140 kilometers northwest of Cebu City, fisherfolks are still working double time to meet the demand for seafood and other sea products.
Madridejos, a fourth-class municipality that comprised Bantayan Island, was part of the three-day Suroy-Suroy Sugbo in Bantayan from November 27 to November 29.
Part of the three-day event was a visit to a seafood processing plant in the town’s Barangay Poblacion which gained reputation for exporting large quantities of scallops and crab meat abroad.
Mayor Salvador dela Fuente told guests during the tour that their fishing industry was spared by the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic except for some minor concerns.
“There were really difficulties in transporting the fish especially when strict border controls were put in place but eventually, these problems slowly disappeared when border controls were loosened,” said Dela Fuente.
He said that fishermen and suppliers, during the pandemic, utilized the internet and social media on marketing their products to sustain high demand.
The mayor, who also happened to own a seafood processing plant, said the entire town continues to export up to 60,000 kilograms of scallops to the United States per month, and two tons of crab meat per day.
Madridejos, a town with a population of roughly 36,900 people based on the 2015 census, relies on fishery as one of its major economic drivers.
Crabs harvested to process and export crab meat are sourced within the municipal’s seawaters.
They will be brought immediately to the plant where workers declaw them, and with the help of sharp, thin knives, carefully pull the meat from inside in one piece.
“The extracted crab meat are then placed inside small plastic containers and will be transported to Cordova where they will be pasturized, ready for export,” explained Dela Fuente.
Most of the crab meat and scallops from Madridejos are used for export, added Dela Fuente, and only a few portions are sold in local markets.
“Seafood products sold in the local markets are fish,” he said. /dbs
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