ILAARRDEC’s Uong-Balat FIESTA forum provides venue for sea cucumber concerns

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By Estrella Z. Gallardo

Uong and balat, the Ilocano equivalent for oyster mushroom and sea cucumber, respectively, were featured in a technology forum in relation to the conduct of the Uong-Balat Farms and Industry Encounters through the Science and Technology Agenda (FIESTA) tackled the concerns of sea cucumber, particularly on production, processing, and marketing.

The technology forum is conducted to engage farmers and fisherfolk in learning and knowing the technology. It also provides venue for interaction among technology generators, farmers, and fisherfolk, and other technology enthusiasts.

The FIESTA which was organized by the Ilocos Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development Consortium (ILAARRDEC) which has the theme, “Agri-aqua industry for sustainable growth and collective prosperity,” was held at the University of Northern Philippines, Vigan City on March 13-15, 2019.

Victor Sanidad of Ilocos Sur Polytechnic College (ISPSC) discussed the species identification and biology of sea cucumber in Region 1. He explained sea cucumber’s role in the ecosystem and the need to come up with more management initiatives to conserve them.

Precy Galiling of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) explained the selection of breeders, spawning, larval rearing, and nursery rearing of sea cucumber.

Dr. Veronica Grande of Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) on the other hand, discussed the use and marketing of sea cucumber in Ilocos Norte. She explained its collection, processing procedures, and the Philippine National Standard (PNS) for dried sea cucumber and its prices. Dried sea cucumber is being exported in China, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Syria.

Professor Victoria Malaya of the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DMMMSU) presented the culture and processing of sea cucumber as adopted in a Science and Technology Community-based Farm (STCBF) in La Union. She explained the sea ranching technology also known as the ‘put and take’ technology. She said that it is a promising technology for the restoration and rehabilitation of sea cucumber stocks in overfished areas of Holothuria scabra. Prof. Malaya also discussed the processing, sorting, and grading of sea cucumber.

The open forum that followed provided an opportunity for interaction between the technology generators and sea cucumber enthusiasts. It focused not only on technologies but also on other concerns such as availability of stocks and the possibility of using improvised culture areas.(MegaManila Science Journalists)

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