“Sa pagtanom ning seaweeds inaasahan kong matatawanan ko ning magayon na harong an pamilya ko asin mapatapos sa pagklase an mga aki ko.” (In planting seaweeds, I hope to give my family a comfortable home and to let my children finish their studies).
This was the inspiring answer of Mr. Comprencio Olitan, Chairman of Biga Farmers and Fishermen Association (BFFA), when asked if he can see any future in growing seaweeds.
Like any other pillar of the house, Olitan wants what’s best for his family, he dives at least five feet together with the other members of the association just to grow seaweeds using deep-sea floating rope method. He doesn’t complain with the harsh heat of the sun nor the strong waves of the sea due to northeast wind.
Barangay Biga is one of the four PRDP-GEF site in the province of Sorsogon, it covers a marine protected area (MPA) of 57.6 hectare fish sanctuary and marine reserve, designed to sustain the rejuvenation and the rehabilitation on the condition of fish habitats like coral reefs and sea grass beds.
As of the moment, BFFA is composed of 62 active members who are very enthusiastic to participate in the implementation of the project. They plant striatum variety of seaweed and sold it as fresh seaweed for 10 pesos per kilo or as a raw dried seaweed (RDS) for 45 pesos per kilo.
Unfortunately, the seaweeds were washed out during their first trial on October 28, 2016, this was brought about by the cool northeast moonsoon wind. Brgy. Captain Elmer Datu encourages the fishermen to continue planting seaweeds with assistance of 2000 kilograms of seaweed propagules from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
“Dapat diri mawaran ning pag-asa ang mga paraisda sa una pa lang na problema, mag-tanom ulit para makabangon” (The fishermen should not loose their hope in just one challenge, again lets grow seaweeds to immediately recover).
With the implementation of the PRDP-GEF MPA, the residents believe that it will help them eliminate the incidence of illegal fishing activities in their area, it will also provide an alternative livelihood to the fisherfolk and their families.
GEF-funded projects aim to incorporate natural biodiversity conservation mechanisms and coastal fisheries resources management to local governments’ commodity investment plan. (Michelle Angela G. Alfigura, DA-PRDP RPCO V InfoACE Unit)