Huge pugapo caught off Masbate’s waters
Kristine B. Quintas/RHM (The Freeman) - August 23, 2015 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines- A fisherman has caught a giant pugapo (grouper) fish about six feet long in the waters off Masbate.

The giant fish (Epinephelus lanceolatus), which measured about two meters and weighed about 100 kilos, was brought to Mandaue City yesterday, where it was chopped up for consumption.

Jovannie Alburo, 37, of Kawayan, Masbate, said last Friday was the first time he caught a humongous fish after 20 years of fishing.

He said he is used to catching pugapo/lapu-lapu fish, which normally weighs just two to three kilos.

“Na-shock ko sa kadako ug nalipay ko nga kapin sa 20 tuig nakong pangisda nakakuha ko og dako kaayong isda,” he told The FREEMAN.

Pugapo is common to the country and can grow as long as 120 centimeters and up to 12 kilograms – but it is exceedingly rare to catch one that is over four feet long.

Normally sold at P150 a kilo in the local market, it is one of them most expensive fish in the market and is valued because of its texture and taste as well as its great potential in the aquaculture market.

Demand for the grouper in the international market is fast growing, particularly in Hongkong, Japan, and Singapore.

It is considered “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List Status, which means there is a need to protect and conserve this species.

Alburo said their day started like any other day last Friday when he, his brother, and his cousin went out to fish using their motorized banca around 8 a.m.

He said it normally takes four to six hours before they would get a good catch; around 10 a.m., however, they saw the big fish, which they immediately recognize as pugapo as the water was clear, surface near them.

They immediately cast out their fish net and managed to catch fish, which they managed to haul into the boat after around 30 minutes of struggle.

Alburo said the area where they caught the fish was their usual fishing spot, which is just 20 to 30 feet deep.

Asked if they thought of keeping the fish alive or even preserving it, he said it never occurred to them.

Alburo, a father of three, is a native of Kawayan town in Masbate. Aside from being a fisherman, he is also a licensed customs broker and a businessman and also owns a trucking services company in Mandaue City.

He reminisced that in his college days in one of the universities here, he always longed to go home to fish.

“Holiday or weekend mouli gyod ko aron managat,” he said.   (FREEMAN)

 

ACIRC ALBURO CONSERVATION OF NATURE RED LIST STATUS EPINEPHELUS FISH INTERNATIONAL UNION JOVANNIE ALBURO KAWAYAN MANDAUE CITY MASBATE PUGAPO
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