Family gets support from BFAR XI, thrives on seaweed business
Albarico and the other seaweed farmers in the area, consider the sea is a blessing because it allows them to engage in fishing and seaweed farming for free, for as long as they took care of the waters by keeping it clean and debris-free.
Seaweed farming for these folks means making use of a thick twine rope that can withstand the wear and tear of the water and changing weather conditions, which is then tied in the middle of the sea using a makeshift stand that can float at a depth of 15 fathoms. The seaweed propagules are then cut into a standard length depending on their target harvest period and then secured on the rope.
She said seaweeds can thrive once planted but they are wary of thieves in the community who steal the seaweeds especially when prices in the market are high. They also have to contend with seaweed diseases such as "ice ice" which is a condition caused by changes in the water's salinity and temperature. This disease produces a moist substances that induces whitening of the seaweeds and attracts bacteria in the water. When taken for granted, she said, this will lead to the detachment of the seaweed from the rope which means losses for the farmers.
Albarico is a member of the Punta Biao Fisherfolk Association consisting of 45 groups with at least five members per group. While most of them are into seaweed farming, she said there is a plan under the Department of Trade and Industry's Bottom Up Budgeting to invest P700,000 for a seaweed processing plant in the area.
"Demand for guso is always high in the market not only for food but also for industries that process the seaweeds into candies and even chips," she said. Nothing goes to waste, she added, since she dries the damaged guso which she sells at P50 per kilo.