The Seaweed Farmers of Caluya

Arriving in Caluya you just cannot help but notice that the sea is covered in what looks like mini icebergs or salt pillars but the thousands of white objects are in fact polystyrene floats holding up the seaweed plants being cultivated all along the coast.

polystyrene seaweed floats
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polystyrene seaweed floats line the coastline

Caluya seaweed Farmer
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Caluya Seaweed Farmer planting seedlings

The typhoon Yolanda last November destroyed most of their crop and everyone is now working round the clock to make the most of the seaweed growing season until April when the winds change and the waves become bigger.

Caluya Seaweed Farming
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Caluya Seaweed Farming

The younger children play with the sea weed  and have lots of fun at sunset throwing it at each other 🙂

Girl playing with sand and seaweed Caluya
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Girl playing with sand and seaweed Caluya

seaweed fun at sunset Caluya
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seaweed fun at sunset Caluya

The islands around here have the perfect conditions for cultivating seaweed. Seaweed needs a sheltered condition with slight wave movement for growth and with the shallow waters and a kind of barrier reef protecting the plants from strong currents,  the seaweed thrives providing a good alternative income to the fishermen of Caluya.

Seaweed farming is a family business
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Seaweed farming is a family business

Seaweed farming is labour intensive and all the family is involved in the whole process.

cutting and retying the seaweed
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A man cutting and retying the seaweed outside his house

The seaweed farmers  grow the seaweed from seedlings and once it has grown enough the seaweed is taken out of the water to be recut and replanted on new lines or dried and bagged if it has grown enough for harvesting.

seaweed hung to dry by the beach
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seaweed hung to dry by the beach

newly tied seaweed being taken back to sea
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newly tied seaweed being taken back to sea for rejuvenation floating

After the seaweed is taken from the water to be cut and retied on the lines it needs to be floated for a day or two in its natural condition to recover from the shock of being out of the water before it is strung out in lines again for growth.

seaweed rejuvenating before being replanted
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seaweed rejuvenating before being replanted

Lines of seaweed Caluya
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Lines of seaweed Caluya

 

Seaweed Drying
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Seaweed Drying

Caluya seaweed drying on road
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Caluya seaweed drying on road

After it is dried and bagged the seaweed is shipped to Cebu where it is then processed into Carrageenan which is used for  their gelling, thickening, and stabilizing properties and can be found in many products from food to toothpaste.

Caluya seaweed floating
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Caluya seaweed floating

Caluya sunset on the seaweed farm
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Caluya sunset on the seaweed farm

 

Watch a short video

Seaweed farming in Caluya Island, Antique, Philippines. Propagating the seaweed. The whole family helps prepare the seaweed. The seaweed is taken off the old string , cut and retied to a new string before being returned to the sea.

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The Seaweed Farmers of Caluya
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