, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 733-742

Commercial production of carrageenophytes in the Philippines: ensuring long-term sustainability for the industry

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Abstract

An abundance of marine algae along the Philippines' long, irregular coastline (36,289 km) has made it inevitable for Filipinos to exploit algae for food, feeds, medicine, or other purposes. Among the most popular of these algae are the carrageenophytes, which include four genera, six species, and 21 morphotypes/varieties/cultivars under the Family Solieriaceae. However, commercial production did not begin until 1973. The development of carrageenophyte farming for commercial purposes evolved from simple fixed-bottom monoline farming by coastal farmers, who refined the technology themselves, with the help and guidance of local and international scientists, which has led to a commercially viable industry with a maximum estimated production of 97,000–102,820 dry, metric tons in 2004. Farm gate revenues for that year were estimated at US$ 82.45–87.4 million (four croppings year−1), whose main recipients were the local seaweed farmers. However, in 2008, production started to decline, which was brought primarily by the deteriorating quality of propagules and the perennial occurrence of “ice-ice” and harmful endophytes caused by environmental stresses due to unfavorable weather conditions, and secondarily, the peace and order problem in the major producing areas like Zamboanga, Maguindanao, Basilan, and Sulu in Mindanao and insufficient government support. This paper aims to assess the present situation and suggest how to possibly reverse the situation to its usual productive periods.

This paper was presented at the 8th Asia-Pacific Conference on Algal Biotechnology, Adelaide, Australia, 2012