Security up for seaweed, fish production
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Agriculture (DA) has moved to boost security patrols in the waters of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which are the country’s largest producer of seaweed for export.
The department’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has allocated P24.5 million for fishery and livelihood projects in the region to benefit thousands of fisherfolk families in island-municipalities.
Half of the amount has been earmarked for the purchase of engines for 67 outriggers for the region’s Bantay Dagat forces to strengthen their capacity to protect ARMM waters from illegal fishermen and poachers, Fisheries Director Asis Perez said.
Perez said the BFAR also planned to develop a portion of Liguasan Marsh into a center for freshwater fish biodiversity.
There are more than a dozen freshwater species found in Liguasan, most popular among them the tilapia. The marsh also supports flora and fauna that include 92 species of birds, six species of reptiles and five species of amphibians.
Perez said that with the investment by the government through the BFAR, the potential for further increasing the ARMM’s fishery and aquaculture potential remained high.
The ARMM is still the country’s top seaweed producer. Last year, producers in the region harvested 686,450 metric tons of seaweeds valued at P4.3 billion, representing 37 percent of the country’s total seaweed output of 1.84 million MT, according to the DA.