Science and Environment

Seaweed for income, and vs climate change

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has started identifying possible sites for seaweed farming, an alternative source of income for coastal communities that can help counter the effects of climate change.

Environment Secretary Gina Lopez said the department, with the help of other government agencies and concerned parties, is now looking to boost local production of seaweed.

She said the potential seaweed farming sites include Calatagan in Batangas, Tambuyong in Quezon, Badian in Cebu, and Caluya Island in Antique, near Semirara Island where the controversial coal mining site and power plant is located.

Lopez said the government would not only help in seaweed propagation, but also in marketing its by-products.

“The seaweed revenues should affect more than one person while developing an area. We can get the country out of poverty through this project,” she added.

The DENR chief noted the strong market potential of seaweed due to its fast-growing characteristics and high market price, making it an important economic activity to alleviate poverty in rural areas.

“Apart from its economic potential, seaweed is one of the natural and effective carbon sequesters that can be found in the coastal area, and some of its species can grow alongside mangroves,” Lopez added.

As such, one of the proposals is to get the fund for the seaweed projects from the Expanded National Greening Program and the People’s Survival Fund.

Using seaweed for human production and consumption also helps the marine ecosystem as it reduces the organisms infesting other lives in the sea.

The DENR recently organized a roundtable discussion on seaweed potential for biodiversity-friendly enterprises held at the training center of the Biodiversity Management Bureau in Quezon City.

Among those who attended the meeting were representatives from the Seaweed Industry Association of the Philippines, the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute, seaweed farmers from Tambuyog, Quezon, Badian, Cebu, and Negros Oriental, Mabunao Agricultural Forest Livelihood Improvement Program, National Fisheries Research and Development Institute, Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia and the Department of Agriculture.

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