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Abstract

The objective of this study is to provide a better understanding of the snail dredging industry and its current situation. Specifically, it describes the snail dredging activities done in selected areas in Laguna Lake, determines the profitability of snail dredging, and identifies the market destinations of the snails dredged. Snail dredging has been banned because of its adverse effects on the lake environment. However, the study finds that snail dredgers continue to operate all year round. On a daily basis, dredging operations range from 4 to 10 hours. Snails dredged from Laguna Lake are brought to the provinces of Pampanga (41%), Bulacan (13%), Quezon (9%) and Laguna (37%). Gross margin analysis was employed to determine the profitability of the snail dredging business. With a GM/GS ratio of 0.15 for both Rizal and Laguna dredgers and 0.14 for Pasig dredgers, snail dredging is not a lucrative business that can provide the snail dredgers a high income. Despite the prohibitions and low profitability, snail dredgers are likely to remain in the business due to the following reasons: (1) the operators and hired workers lack alternative high paying jobs and sure source of income, (2) there is high demand for snails from duck and prawn farms, and (3) high investment cost. Further research is needed to determine how snails can be profitably grown without aggravating the lake’s current condition.

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