College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences (CFOS)


UPV-CFOS spearheads 1st Iloilo Seaweed Summit

The University of the Philippines Visayas, through the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences (UPV-CFOS), was one of the lead organizers of the first-ever seaweed summit in Iloilo province, conducted last April 14-15, 2023, at Casa Real de Iloilo, Iloilo City.

The first Iloilo Seaweed Summit was successfully held in partnership with the Iloilo Provincial Government, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)-Western Visayas, and the Northern Iloilo Seaweed Industry Association (NISIA) to tackle issues and challenges, opportunities, and the future of the seaweed industry in the province.

With the theme “Sharing the Vision of a Progressive and Sustainable Seaweed Industry in Iloilo,” the summit was one of the highlights of Semana Sang Iloilo, an event held in celebration of the province’s 122nd founding anniversary from April 11-14, 2023.

CFOS dean and project leader of the UPV-CFOS Seaweed Research Group, Prof. Encarnacion Emilia S. Yap, introduced the rationale and objectives of the conference. She underscored the importance of sharing cutting-edge knowledge, best practices, and observations and forging sustainable and long-term public-private-community partnerships to plan out, execute, and scale up the seaweed production in the Province of Iloilo.

Designed to maximize and strengthen the potential of the local seaweed industry, the two-day summit was attended by around 150 seaweed farmers and stakeholders in the province.

Iloilo Provincial Administrator Atty. Dennis Ventilacion gave the welcome message on behalf of Governor Arthur R. Defensor Jr., expressing the province’s support for the revival of the seaweed industry in Iloilo.

DA-BFAR-6 Regional Director Remia A. Apari, in her opening message, emphasized the importance of seaweed farming as the best alternative to capture fisheries and one of the strategies for climate action and resilience. She also encouraged the seaweed farmers and growers to organize into cooperatives or associations to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.

The conference was divided into three sessions. Session 1 covered topics on seaweed production- climate change resilient technologies and innovations, investment opportunities for other species, and best practices in seaweed cultivation. Among the invited speakers were Ms. Felina Grace C. Basco, fisheries division chief of the Iloilo Provincial Agriculture Office; Ms. Ida T. Capacio, center chief of BFAR National Seaweeds Technology Development Center; Mr. Amado P. Blanco, co-founder and chief operating officer of Coast 4C Limited; and Dr. Anicia Q. Hurtado, Chair of the Integrated Services for the Development of Aquaculture and Fisheries, Inc.

Session 2 included topics examining seaweed trade, market opportunities, and utilization. The resource persons were Mr. Ronald S. Simbajon of the Seaweed Industry Association of the Philippines (SIAP); Mr. Raymare Augusto and Ms. Mary Anne Rose U. Dakay of Shemberg Ingredients and Gums Corporation; Ms. Jee Grace B. Suyo-Diala, faculty member of the Division of Social Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, UPV and part of the GlobalSeaweedSTAR program; and Asst. Prof. Leonilo F. Endoma, Jr., faculty member of UPV-CFOS.

Session 3 was the ceremonial signing of the Pledge of Commitment by various seaweed stakeholders. Representatives from seaweed farmers, local government units, academe and research, private sectors particularly from seaweed processors and traders, civil society organizations, and associated agencies signed a Pledge of Commitment to cooperate to any undertaking to address the issues and concerns of the seaweed sector in the country.

Western Visayas is the 4th largest seaweed producing region in the country based on the 2022 Fisheries Statistics, utilizing about 60% of its coastal waters with potential for seaweed farming (Philippine Statistics Authority, 2022).

The UPV-CFOS Seaweed Research Group is assisting in developing and promoting the seaweed industry in Iloilo. The research group is composed of Prof. Encarnacion Emilia S. Yap, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Victor Marco Emmanuel N. Ferriols, Asst. Professor Dr. Iris Ann G. Borlongan, Asst. Prof. Jonalyn P. Mateo, and Asst. Prof. Leonilo F. Endoma, Jr.  (With reports from Precious Gaurana and Asst. Prof. Leonilo Endoma, Jr.)

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