BFAR to push seaweed production in Caraga

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/28 March) – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in the Caraga Region is pushing coastal municipalities to embrace seaweed production in the hope to help alleviate the lives of fishing communities in the region.

Seaweed has been identified as the top contributor to aquaculture production, which pitches in more than 80 percent of the total aquaculture production in Caraga.

BFAR Regional Director Nerio G. Casil said that seaweed culture and production among fisherfolks in the coastal communities will provide added income for their families.

“Through the seaweed development program (SWP), we are pushing to expand and make it bigger for Caraga Region. Our overall target for the region is to develop different fishery programs that would balance protection and conservation to that of production as well,” said Casil.

The regional director pointed out that last year alone, about 800 metric tons of seaweed had been imported to the country.

“If we could promote livelihood through seaweeds we can greatly reduce the importation and provide a huge amount of income to our fisherfolks. Right now, we have several towns in the provinces of Dinagat, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur as our seaweed production areas,” he said.

In an interview in Barangay Britania in San Agustin, Surigao del Sur last week, with fisherman Allan Orculo, who was harvesting sea urchin, said that he had also planted seaweeds back in 2011.

“Seaweed culture requires you to take care of the area and check it regularly. But the income was good. I hope this year we could grow more seaweeds side by side our sea urchin harvest,” said Orculo.

According to BFAR report as of 2011, Caraga has an existing expansion area of 768.95 hectares for seaweeds with 520 hectares of potential areas for production. (Erwin Mascariñas / MindaNews)