Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What is Eelpilipinas?

Translation: Eels Philippines. Eelpilipinas is the name of our eel farming project

We want to build the first socially and environmentally responsible eel farming operation in the Philippines, and the first sustainable eel farming operation in the world.
Eel farms do not currently exist in the Philippines, although the conditions for eel farming are excellent. Eelpilipinas is an excellent opportunity to start a profitable, vertically integrated eel farming business at the community level and eventually build a sustainable industry throughout the Philippines.

Our Mission

  • Build a new and exciting Philippines aquaculture industry
  • Create much needed job security in the rural sector
  • Provide food security and food safety in a fast growing region
  • Help prevent the illegal trade in animals and stabilize the glass eel source
  • Create a sustainable resource for future generations
  • A healthy triple bottom line

Eel farming 101

The first step is to collect glass eel. These are tiny see-through creatures that hatch at sea and are collected by fishermen when the make their way back to where their parents came from in the fresh water rivers of the Philippines. All eel farms rely on the capture of glass eels from the wild. This is because the eel life cycle has not been worked out, so a captive breeding program is not currently a commercial option. The glass eels number up to 7000 tails per kilogram. They are transferred to tanks where they they are weaned onto a commercial diet and eventually become colored, at which point they are called elvers. Elvers are then on-grown in tanks or ponds to market size. Live eels are packaged and sent to export markets all over the world. Global demand for live eels is very strong and can fetch up to USD$40 per kilo ($18/pound).

LEFT: Fishing village in Aparri and glass eel or Fyke net 
RIGHT: A handful of precious glass eels ready to go into tanks


A sustainable livestock resource:
Eel farming is not rocket science, but reliance on wild glass eel collection and unregulated practices are limiting growth and sustainability in the industry
To help save precious glass eel resources the Filipino Government has made it illegal to export glass eels from the Philippines. But there are many illegal fishermen relentlessly stripping the Philippines of it's natural glass eel resources for a short-term and unsustainable gain
This illegal animal trade industry must be stopped. We could be building better futures and opportunities for people right here in the Philippines. Eelpilipinas will lead the way to show how we can build a sustainable industry and eel fishery. We can achieve this by working with the authorities to restock local waterways with our elvers and lobbying to improve the regulation of the illegal exports of glass eels to other countries. The future eel farming industry is being sold out to other countries that reap the benefits from on-growing them to market size  

A sustainable environment:
Our clean growing environment is our most precious resource. That's why we will treat our effluent. Our environmental planning will exceed minimum government standards and use fresh water resources in a responsible and sustainable way

Restocking into local waterways. Elvers have much higher survival rate than glass eels. Elver restocking programs will create a sustainable resource

The Impact on peoples lives

Eel farming is not sustainable in any country. However, eel farming in the Philippines is new to the world. We believe we can start from scratch on a blank canvas. Our ethical business philosophy will ensure this project will grow old wisely, spread the success story across the Philippines, build a sustainable industry in the rural sector, and tick all the boxes for a healthy triple bottom line
  • Our strong and highly ethical foundation is based on consideration of Social, Technical, Environmental, Economic, Political, Legal & Ethical issues
  • Our mantra is Job Security, Food Security, Food Safety, Sustainability, Environment
  • This is a real life project in the real world. It will have a lifetime impact on rural workers and future generations. We can employ glass eel fishermen all year round and prevent them from targeting glass eels for a few months of the year and selling them for peanuts to rouge exporters
  • This project will be based in poor rural communities and will not carry a heavy debt burden
  • We want to build up carefully over time and be fully engaged with the community
  • We need to generate income to provide stable local jobs and help build peripheral local support industries 
  • Follow our journey on Facebook, Twitter or by email - see links on sidebar.

An integrated eel farm: Glass eel sorting - fisherman - farm worker

We need a committed investor to make it happen

To make Eelpilipinas work we do not need to over-capitalize.

We will only need cover set-up and operational costs for a viable 25 ton growing unit over two seasonal cycles (Phases 1 & 2).

Phase 1: Site selection and site-specific planning. Secure our licensing and approvals. Set-up our corporate governance systems (business administration, quality assurance and risk management) and single-desk live marketing. Commencement of construction and site development. Become fully operational to accept wild-caught eels for the live export market. Phase 1 will get us started and generate more income to help fund Phase 2

Phase 2: Build our first 25 ton modular grow-out unit. Set-up our glass eel sourcing division. Commence operations. Continue researching and enhancing market opportunities

Our extensive business planning and scenario options demonstrate that less than USD300K is the amount required to start generating an income from Phase 1 & 2 of our business strategy. Any money we make from Phase 1 will go back into Eelpilipinas to help us grow through to Phase 4 --- a fully integrated eel farm producing market sized eels and helping to restock elvers back into local waterways

Eelpilipinas has a very experienced team behind it, and with your help, our team of experts can make this exciting hands-on project come to life