August 9, 2021. Seaweed is the primary commodity produced by the Philippine fisheries and aquaculture sector with 1.499 million metric tons followed by milkfish and tilapia (BFAR, 2020). It is also the second top export commodity contributing 33.3% to the total fisheries production in 2020. The gross value of seaweed production in 2020 amounted to 10.60 billion pesos (PSA, 2020).
The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) shares 46.5% of the total aquaculture production of seaweed, making them the top producer in the Philippines, followed by Zamboanga Peninsula and MIMAROPA (BFAR, 2020). The major commercial seaweeds type in the Philippines are Eucheuma, Kappaphycus, Gracilaria spp. and Caulerpa lentillifera.
In 2018, the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) submitted a resolution to the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (BAFS) requesting to review the PNS related to seaweeds (BAFS/PNS 208:2017) in order to compare the PNS with that of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council and Marine Stewardship Council (ASC-MSC) Seaweed Standards for certifying global seaweed operations.
From 2019 to 2020, BAFS facilitated the review of the PNS to ensure alignment with international standards. The Technical Working Group (TWG) is composed of representatives from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Department of Science and Technology [DOST] - Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), Department of Science and Technology - Industrial Technology Development Institute (DOST-ITDI), University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI), Seaweed Industry Association of the Philippines (SIAP), Integrated Services for the Development of Fisheries and Aquaculture Inc. (ISDFI) and the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) who provided scientific advice and current market requirements.
Field data gathering was conducted in 2021 to validate existing production practices. On August 5, 2021, a final stakeholder consultation was conducted to review the working draft PNS on the Code of GAqP for Seaweed developed by the TWG. The consultation was participated by 31 stakeholders representing regulatory agencies, academic/research institutions, private stakeholders, and civil society organizations. The BAFS Management Team, led by Ms. Camille Baraquiel together with Ms. Froline Bernas facilitated the discussion of the draft PNS.
The adoption of washed-ashore and wild stock seaweeds were the major issues raised during the consultation. After the consultation, the TWG will schedule a finalization meeting to deliberate on the technical comments/suggestions gathered during the consultation in order to finalize the draft PNS. The final draft PNS is expected to be endorsed to the DA Secretary by the third quarter of CY 2021. ###
Figure 1. The BAFS Management Team, TWG, and stakeholders during the conduct
of online final stakeholder consultation of PNS on the Code of GAqP for Seaweed.
Cover Photo References:
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources – Department of Agriculture (BFAR-DA) (2020). Philippine fisheries profile.
Philippine Statistics Authority (2020). Fisheries Situation Report for January to December 2020.