Around 45 minutes to an hour from Raymen Beach Resort, SEAFDEC is a government-owned research station that is known for its giant groupers (115-pound groupers ARE scary). SEAFDEC has perfected milkfish-rearing and has been working with the Canadian government to grow huge groupers, thus, their giants.
Our guide/host (I unfortunately forgot his name, but he has been working with SEAFDEC for 30 years) was very friendly and eager to share what they are up to. It was just hard to concentrate on what he was saying because we had kids I was concerned for who kept on insisting on leaning over the railings so much. The receiving area/raft at SEAFDEC is surrounded by the giant grouper cage, the huge red snapper and sea bass... all carnivorous type of fish... not to mention that it was deep sea over there.
Milkfish are fed feeds in pellet form and we found out that they lay their eggs at night. SEAFDEC workers would gather those eggs to transfer to another cage.
visiting boats 'park' along this long plank structure, registration is done at that house/station at the far end of the picture
SEAFDEC employees navigate fish pens through a network of makeshift bridges made of bamboo; pens are separated by nets
carnivorous fish are fed small fish and visitors are welcome to try, they can wash up later at the registration station
sea bass, about the length of an arm at least
red snapper, also as long as an arm at least, and they really look fierce! (we had 2 underwater cams with us but again, these are carnivorous fish)
for their lunch! fished just outside the pens since a lot of different fish are attracted in that area due to the feeds (which is why it wouldn't hurt to have a small piece of bread with you, to crumble over the edge of the station house and watch different kinds of fish fight for the crumbs)... edge of the floating station is too high from the water though, so again, we couldn't use our underwater cams
our guide/host, about to demonstrate how they grow abalone
these babies supposedly sell for around P4,000/kilo
offices, sleeping quarters were built on the surrounding rock formations/small islands within the area
SEAFDEC has also been wooing private investors to start their own fishing farms (in collaboration with SEAFDEC) within the area with the primary hope of being able to supply the demand for fish in the country as well as provide employment for the people of Guimaras. Since the research station is in open sea, there isn't the risk of oxygen deprivation like what is happening at the fish farms in Taal Lake.
They also breed/care for seahorses.
Guimaras island hopping would definitely be incomplete without a trip here. We suggested that maybe they can keep a pen that's open to the public who want to experience fishing there (and hey, what about a restaurant?). The giant groupers were sure scary but an experience nonetheless... and there are plenty of staff to assist visitors in navigating the bamboo bridges.
Entrance fee/donation costs P25/adult and P10/child.