The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the local government of Anda in this province are eyeing the expansion of the three-hectare seaweed nursery area in the waters of Sitio Caniogan Barangay Tondol here to supply more seaweed propagules or “seedlings” to the entire Ilocos Region.
Anda municipal agriculturist Elizabeth Tomas, in an interview on Thursday, said BFAR is asking for an additional five-hectare expansion of the nursery to make it an eight-hectare propagation area but the local government unit (LGU) suggested a total of 10 hectares instead to allot some of its portion to other high-value commercial fish and sea urchin production area.
Since 2019, BFAR and the LGU have been looking for the perfect spot to set up a seaweed nursery in the town and have found this area given its high potential for seaweed propagation, Tomas said.
“It has been a long time plan to commercialize seaweeds in Anda. We have been looking where to put the nursery, there were pilot areas but Caniogan is the most secured area since it is not that exposed to huge waves),” she said in Filipino.
Sitio Caniogan is situated in the northern eastern part of the town and has corals or natural barriers that break down huge waves as they reach the seaweed propagation area, which is necessary for the long-line method of seaweed production, she added.
The area is also known to be the most conducive place to grow and multiply seaweeds as it is considered fertile considering the abundance of sea grass and other marine plants.
She said BFAR’s counterpart to the nursery project includes manpower, technical assistance, and provision of equipment and the propagules.
The nursery has been a source of planting materials for LGUs in the entire Ilocos Region and private individuals from western Pangasinan with a Regional Seaweed Nursery launched on Sept. 19.
Meanwhile, the BFAR is also urging the community to take the project to a higher level by setting up their own seaweed farm.
“They (BFAR) commit to provide start-up capital if somebody from the community would dare to venture into the seaweed farm industry as it has huge potential as well,” she said, adding that the amount of the capital would depend on the computation of the BFAR.
Tomas admitted that maintaining a seaweed plantation requires a lot of work including marketing the produce.
Anda Mayor Joganie Rarang, in a statement, expressed support for the project as he also sees it as a tourism opportunity since the location is within the famous white-sand beach of the town. (PNA)