Aqua farming in Bantayan Island in Cebu has stabilized nearly three years after being devastated by super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in 2013, the provincial government said.
But now, the bad news: seaweed farms in Doong Island, also in Bantayan, are now being affected by the El Niño phenomenon, it added.
“Help from the government would make a difference so that we will no longer borrow capital from our buyers. Most of us have debts… some reach P300,000,” said Roger Forrosuelo, president of the Doong Seaweed Planters’ Association.
Forrosuelo said the rising temperatures from El Nino had brought ice-ice disease to their seaweeds.
Also, he said most of them were still paying their loas, with the purchase price of dried seaweed drastically dropping from around P60 to P20 to P27 per kilo.
Doong Island has a population of 2,318 population, and relies on seaweed farming as a main source of livelihood.
On the other hand, Bantayan-based Sulangan, Suba, Sungko Seaweed Association head Diosdado Legaspino said they had recovered from Yolanda.
“We have recovered (from Yolanda), the situation is now normal,” he said.
The group was among the beneficiaries of the rehab inputs distributed by the Cebu provincial government in mid-2015.
Among the inputs distributed were grouper (Lapu-lapu) and bangus cages, fish attracting device, nets, hook and line, and seaweeds.
Damage to the area caused by Yolanda was estimated at P33 million.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources had downloaded P33 million to the Capitol to implement the agency’s rehabilitation plan.
In Bantayan, there were nine recipients of grouper cages. The beneficiaries were members of a fishermen’s association or the associations themselves.
Also, there were three recipients in the municipality of Santa Fe and one in Madridejos.
Groupers are designed to be harvested in eight to 10 months when their weight reaches at least 500 grams.