Starting Tinapa (Smoked Fish) Business

Smoked fish or tinapa making is one of the well-known products among Filipinos Smoked fish making is a good livelihood option that can be undertaken by the whole family. It can serve as either main or supplemental source of income.

Investment Requirements

  • 40 kg Fresh fish
  • 2 kg Salt
  • Water
  • 5 bundles Firewood
  • 3 sacks Sawdust
  • Labor (1 person)
  • 1 pc Brining container
  • 1 unit Cooking kettle
  • 2 units Concrete Stove
  • Knives & Utensils
  • 5 Bamboo trays
  • Estimated cost Php 10,000.00



  1. Wash the fish thoroughly.
  2. Prepare the brine solution i.e., a mixture of water and salt. For 40-kg. fresh fish, use 10 gallons of water and two kilograms of salt.
  3. Place the fish in the boiling brine solution. Be sure that the fish is completely submerged. Boiling the brine solution aids in maintaining the firmness of the fish.
  4. Let the solution boil for at least five minutes.
  5. Strain the cooked fish and arrange in bamboo trays. Be sure that excess water is completely drained.
  6. Prepare the drum smoker using firewood or wood shavings (kusot) as fuel. The wood shavings can be bought from local dealers at Php20 per sack.
  7. Cover the drum smoker. Smoking time varies according to fish size or dryness of fish. Longer smoking time makes storage longer.
  8. Alternate position of trays frequently for even curing and smoking.
  9. After smoking, remove the bamboo trays and let them cool in room temperature.

Tip: Smoked fish products are available throughout the year because a wide variety of fish species like, lapad, tunsoy, banak, kabasi, hasa-hasa, galunggong, tamban and bangus can be processed using the same technology. Except for galunggong, all the other species command higher price. Frozen or stale fishes from the market are not good to smoke.

Costing and Pricing


  • Fresh fish (40 kgs. @ Php90/kg.) Php 3,600.00
  • Salt (2 kgs. @ Php15/kg.) 30.00
  • Water @ Php37.80/day 37.80
  • Firewood 107.50 ( 5 bundles @ Php21.50/ bundle)
  • Sawdust (3 sacks @ Php36/sack) 108.00
  • Electricity 8.19 (P180/month divided by 22 days)
  • Labor (4 hrs) P125.00
  • Distributed cost of brining container @1.03
  • Distributed cost of cooking kettle @1.03
  • Distributed cost of bamboo trays @.95
  • Distributed cost of concrete stove @4.09
  • Distributed cost of Utensils & knives @2.05

Estimated Total Cost Php 6,000.00
Add: 30% markup on total cost

Total Php 7,800.00

Selling Price/kg Php 195.00
(total cost + 30% markup divided by 40 kgs.)

Market Price : Php200.00/kg. or higher

Ecological Implications

Wastewater generated from the washing, cleaning and cooking of smoked fish should be disposed of properly or maybe used for watering plants. Smoking fish uses a lot of firewood. Use fallen trees, branches, coconut husks and shavings as alternatives. Ashes collected from firewood can be packed in plastic containers and sold in local markets as substitute for cleansers or powdered detergents.

Laws and Restrictions

Although this is a micro-scale business, tinapa producers are required to secure business permit from the municipal or provincial offices.

Support Services/financing Facilities

Technical assistance:
Department of Science and Technology (DOST)
Gen. Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig, Metro Manila
Tel. Nos. 837.2071 to 82/837.3171 to 90


Quedan Corporation
34 Panay Avenue, Quezon City
Tel. Nos. 373.9704/05/11/15/410.7847/41

Training Institution

Technology & Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC)
City State Center, 709 Shaw Blvd., Pasig City
Tel. Nos. 637.4108 to 22

source:, photo from

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