Placencia fishermen have been harvesting seaweed for a number of years due to its many diverse forms of use including for medicinal purposes, cosmetics, and food. But due to the unsustainable way in which it was being harvested from the waters of Palencia, it was not very marketable, that is, until a small group of locals began to sustainably farm the seaweed.
In 2011, through a small grant from COMPACT (Community Management of Protected Areas Conservation Programme), the Placencia Producers Cooperative Society Ltd. took fishermen and farmers under its wings to embark on a pilot seaweed farming project. As part of the project, these sea farmers teach other locals the art of seaweed farming, not only to teach another trade but because the practice helps to promote a healthy ecosystem.
The project has had so much recognition that Leol Godfrey, a.k.a “Japs,” the one who started it all, has been invited to Providencia, Columbia, along with his assistant fisherman to teach Columbian fishermen the trade of seaweed farming.
“We had a group of fisherfolk from Providencia, Columbia, that visited us through COMPACT. There were two women and four fishermen. They came and got trained by us in the process of setting up farms and planting seaweed, and harvesting and drying the product.
They actually really enjoyed it. They told me personally that they have learnt a lot, because they had made attempts to grow it, and it was not really working out for them. So they came to see us, who educated them, and manually showed them the process. They were excited and happy.
Through COMPACT again they had extended an invitation to myself and my assistant, Mr Terrence Lamay. We are going to go to Columbia and to Providencia at the ending of March, this month, to extend our training to other fishermen over there in Providencia.”
“I just like what I do, so I just do it.
It’s an opportunity for me. I’m just glad that I get a chance to go and show them what I know.”
The two men will be travelling to Columbia on the 21st of March to facilitate a one week training course with local fishermen from Columbia.