15 June 2021, Basey, Samar — Being an archipelago, the country is blessed with long shorelines and productive bays and ocean. One of the industries dependent on the quality of marine water is seaweed production which is a main source of income to Filipinos living along the shores. This is also true in Eastern Visayas. In fact, a major seaweed processing plant is located in Tacloban City which raw materials are sourced nationwide.

However, in recent years, the region's production of seaweed dramatically dropped. This was found out during the recent Zoom meeting of DOST 8 and BFAR 8 organized through its iSTART Leyte program. The high caliber experts of the industry present during said meeting suggested an immediate intervention to save the industry.

Under DOST's iSTART Leyte program implementation, an initial visit to one of BFAR's seaweed farms was conducted on 15 June 2021 to get first-hand information on the state of the seaweed production in Region 8. Dr. Mark Redillas, a biologist of De La Salle Univiersity, led the ocular assessment fully supported by BFAR thru its Regional Director BFAR 8 Regional Director Norberto Berida, Regional Seaweed Coordinator Ms. Vicenta Projimo and Ms. Rose Basas. DOST Leyte's Ms. Darlene Lendero (Biologist) and Provincial S&T Director of DOST Leyte, Dr. John Glenn Ocaña, joined in representing DOST 8. Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominic Petilla expressed sincere interest on the collaboration sending Ms. Andrea Alberca of the Leyte Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) to join the activity.

The result of the ocular assessment and potential S&T interventions will be discussed in the next DOST 8 - BFAR 8 joint meeting to be scheduled soon.