Seaweeds have been the leading farmed aquatic commodity in the Philippines, comprising 64% of the total national aquaculture production in 20191. However, the production levels in the last decade for eucheumatoid seaweeds, including Kappaphycus spp. and Eucheuma denticulatum, have been declining. Two of the factors affecting seaweed production was the reported outbreaks of disease and pests. However, data on the prevalence of these seaweed health problems at the farm level have been limited. In situ assessment of 16 farms located in major seaweed growing areas in the Philippines, including Palawan, Bohol, Davao del Norte, Zamboanga City and Tawi-Tawi, were conducted. Results revealed the prevalence of ice-ice disease (IID) on all sites, encompassing the species farmed and the culture techniques employed. Also, pests such as epiphytic filamentous algae (EFA) and macro-algae (Sargassum, Ulva and Gracilaria), black spots and grazing were observed in the farms. The widespread prevalence of these problems at the farm level warrants extensive studies to determine the factors that affect the seaweed’s susceptibility to these yield-limiting disease and pests. Proactive and immediate mitigating strategies should be implemented to prevent the further spread of these problems and not to compromise the future and sustainability of the seaweed aquaculture industry in the Philippines.
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