PUERTO PRINCESA CITY: Palawan Gov. Jose Alvarez is negotiating with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for the use of Snake Island in Honda Bay Islands Group here as a seaweeds farming center.
Provincial Information Officer Gil Acosta on Tuesday said that Snake Island and the seawater that surrounds it is an appropriate site for seaweed (agar-agar or tambalang) farming that can provide alternative livelihood to fishermen living in fishing communities in the city.
Alvarez, speaking during the launching of Bisayang Dako Association (Bisdak) recently, told fishermen from the Visayas who migrated to Palawan that he is currently inviting and encouraging investors from Manila to pour in capitals in several key areas in this city and province for seaweeds farming.
Acosta said the response from the investors is positive. In fact, a big name businessman has reportedly expressed interest to invest in the city and province to help residents with an alternative livelihood from the farming of agar-agar or tambalang.
The governor said fisherfolk in the city will be the first to benefit should the project on Snake Island is approved by the DENR.
Acosta said Alvarez is also looking at seaweeds as a means to let the sea rest from excessive fishing considering that there are reports from the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development that fish stock is fast dwindling in the city.
The governor was quoted as saying that seaweeds will reduce the heavy marine resource utilization in the city, and give the sea the chance to regenerate from overfishing.
The information officer also said that Alvarez encouraged the fishermen members of Bisdak in the city to strengthen their group to enable them to avail of loans and other grants, as well as technical expertise that can help upgrade their living standards.
“Gov. Alvarez believes that farming agar-agar can bring huge potentials not only to the province but also to the city. It can help push the local economy forward, and raise the quality of life of the Palaweño people,” Acosta said.