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Livelihood Diversification: Coastal Livelihoods

Seaweed Farming

Agriculture and fisheries are sectors highly impacted by climate change, thus sustainability of the industries tied to these sectors are threatened. Seaweed farming is a method recently gaining attention as an alternative to traditional aquaculture practices because it involves fast-growing species that easily propagate; it is low-cost; and has fast turnaround rates. The advent of seaweed farming poses less risk to coastal areas affected by typhoons and other climate-related disasters making it an ideal income generating industry for those relying on aquaculture.

Climate Adaptation Effectiveness

As an effort to adapt to the high amounts of rainfall that the Bicol region experiences every year due to typhoons, seaweed farmers in Rapu-Rapu, Albay utilized a more resilient seaweed species. The species is highly productive in a short period of time, given a limited space. Some seaweed species function as wave breakers which could aid in minimizing damages from storm surges as well as add to coastal protection [2].

Climate Hazards

  • Tropical Cyclone


  • Barangay Galicia, Rapu-Rapu, Albay, Region V (Bicol Region)

Adaptation Sectors

  • Agriculture
  • Biodiversity
  • Coastal Areas
  • Disaster Risk Reduction
  • Marine and Fisheries

CCET Instuments

  • Action Delivery

Target Group based on Vulnerability

Basic Sectors:
  • Artisanal Fisherfolk
  • Businesses
  • Children
  • Farmers and Landless Rural Workers
  • Indigenous Peoples
  • Persons with Disabilities
  • Senior Citizens
  • Women
  • Workers in the Informal Sector
  • Youth and Students


Economic / Financial Effectiveness

Seaweed farming is an attractive industry due to its fast turnaround which could provide income to a community even after the onset of a storm [3]. Returns are only significant if the minimum length of the culture lines are about 2,000 m [5]. The mentioned minimum length can bring enough income to raise a family of five above the poverty line. In Central Philippines, the net profit in seaweed farming was determined by monitoring a 2,500m2 farm plot where both fixed off-bottom and raft long line methods were used [4]. The values below suggest that the return on investment is high and would only take less than a year for the investment cost to be recovered. Aside from farming income, seaweed farms can also act as tourist destinations for knowledge enrichment if maintained properly [4]. Fixed off bottom: PhP ~28,300 investment cost; PhP ~28,500 net profit per crop; 56% net income to gross percentage Raft long: PhP ~53,000 investment cost; PhP ~37,200 net profit per crop; 44% net income to gross percentage

Technical Feasibility

Seaweed farming is easily learned and applied, and is gender-friendly [3].

Social Acceptability

There is a notable increase in the number of seaweed farmers from 100 to 300 from 2010-2017 [3]. In Ilocos Sur, most of these seaweed farmers are women [4].

Environmental Impact
Mid (+)

Seaweed farming minimizes environmental impacts because it involves no fertilizer and other chemical input. Prior to harvesting, seaweeds can also become habitats for aquatic organisms and can potentially lessen dynamite fishing and overfishing [3]. However, it is important to note that studies [1] have shown that large-scale seaweed farming can affect the marine communities by drastically altering its natural state and changing its landscape. It is emphasized that more information should be gathered on seaweed farming as the industry progresses.

Mitigation co-benefit

Seaweeds lessens the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen thus mitigating ocean temperature rise and ocean acidification [2].


seaweed farming, seaweeds, fallback livelihood, fast growing, reducing risk, climate related disasters


[1] Buschmann, A. H., Prescott, S., Potin, P., Faugeron, S., Vasquez, J. A., Camus, C., ... & Varela, D. A. (2014). The status of kelp exploitation and marine agronomy, with emphasis on Macrocystis pyrifera, in Chile. In Advances in Botanical Research, 71, pp. 161-188. Academic Press.
[2] Duarte, C., Wu, J., Xiao, X., Bruhn, A., and Krause-Jensen, D. (2017). Can Seaweed Farming Play a Role in Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation. Frontiers in Marine Science, 4, pp. 1-8.
[3] Lauraya, F., Bigornia, J., Pelea, N., Zoilo, R., and Mamansag, M. (2012). Organic Agriculture in Dragon Fruit Plantation: Candon City, Ilocos Sur. In: MDGF: Compendium of Good Practices on Climate Change Adaptation
[4] Samonte, G. (2017). Economics of Kappaphycus spp. Seaweed Farming with Special Reference to the Central Philippines. In: Hurtado A., Critchley A., Neish I. (eds) Tropical Seaweed Farming Trends, Problems and Opportunities. Developments in Applied Phycology
[5] Valderrama,D., Cai, J., Hishamunda, N., Ridler, N. Neish, I., Hurtado, A., Msuya, F., Krishnan, M., Narayanakumar, R., Kronen, M., Robledo, D., Gasca-Leyva, E. and Fraga, J. (2015) The Economics of Kappaphycus Seaweed Cultivation in Developing Countries: A Comparative Analysis of Farming Systems. Aquaculture Economics & Management, 19:2, 251-277, DOI: 10.1080/13657305.2015.1024348