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- Session 1 Status and challenges in Kappaphycus cultivation
- Session 2 Status and challenges in Kappaphycus cultivation
- Session 3 Lessons to be learned
- Session 4 The way forward
- Live Discussion on 07 Jul 2021 14:00 WITA (UTC + 8)
The Caribbean’s small countries and island nations are experiencing a loss of resources due to climate change, nutrient pollution, ocean acidification, seagrass bed habitat loss, fishing pressure, and lost tourism revenues due to COVID-19. We believe that well-managed development and growth of tropical seaweed aquaculture in the region may help to assuage these issues while also providing a new source of seaweed biomass for the existing carrageenan, new food and textile, and possibly future biofuel markets. We are exploring the opportunities for expanded seaweed aquaculture in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico in collaboration with partners across 15 institutions and research sites in Puerto Rico, Florida, and Belize. Together we are prototyping cultivation systems that will allow farms to be deployed in offshore areas, creating tools to mechanize seeding and harvesting processes, assessing the environmental impacts of these farm systems, characterizing the growth and composition of tropical algae in near and offshore environments, and conducting economic and life cycle analyses of macroalgal aquaculture systems in this region. Findings from these efforts will be tailored to the conditions in the Caribbean and The Gulf of Mexico and be adaptable for other locations with similar environmental threats or needs for alternative marine livelihoods.
From 2017 to the present day, little has changed concerning the cultivation of the Kappaphycus alvarezii in Brazil. This seaweed was legally introduced in Brazil in 1998, in the State of São Paulo. Subsequently, the cultivation was authorized in Rio de Janeiro, and in 1998 the first commercial farm was implemented. Although the farming has been environmentally successful in these two states, there is currently no commercial-scale cultivation. The biggest news since 2017 was the release of commercial cultivation on the coast of the Santa Catarina State. This state is the only one where aquaculture areas are already legalized, facilitating the implementation of commercial farms. However, some production bottlenecks still need to be resolved. One is associated with winter in southern Brazil since low temperatures prevent the cultivation at sea. Tank cultivation can be one alternative, using the infrastructure and effluents of other marine organisms, such as shrimp. Another significant challenge is the seedlings drying in a region with high rainfall. Low-cost dryers are being prototyped, and the use of fruit and seed drying greenhouses is being considered. Although the commercial license has been approved, there is still much work to implement the activity sustainably and responsibly.
Eastern African countries are endowed with native eucheumatoids growing naturally in their waters. However, like many other countries worldwide, farming of eucheumatoids relies on imported strains of Eucheuma and Kappaphycus from the Philippines. Commercial farming in East African countries started in Tanzania in 1989 and spread to Madagascar, Kenya and Mozambique. The main farming method is off-bottom practiced in shallow waters. In Tanzania (the largest producer), the industry employs about 30,000 farmers with a production of 107,000t (FW) annually. Madagascar, the second largest producer, exports 20,000t. Kenya produces 1000t, produced by 416 farmers while Mozambique produced 5,230t in 2003 involving 2,000 farmers. The main challenges are ice-ice disease and epiphytes (mainly Melanothamnus spp) owing to climate change. This has led to decrease of Kappaphycus production in Tanzania, collapse of the industry in 2000s in Madagascar, and massive die-offs in all countries. Additionally, most production is now E. denticulatum. Opportunities for large scale production include existing seaweed value addition, existence of Zanzibar Seaweed Cluster Initiative, research on deeper-water farming technologies, contractual farming initiatives, training on Best Business Management Practices, and seaweed industry recognized as priority in Blue Economy.
Eastern Africa have long bean spot as ideal place for testing and cultivation of Kappaphycus alvarezii and Eucheuma denticulatum; in fact local strains of these genera were documented in Mozambique Nampula and Cabo Delgado provinces. Mozambique testing cultivation of eucheumatoids date back to the year 1995 and Kenya followed few years’ latter. This paper highlight the history of eucheumatoid testing, cultivation and engagement of communities emphasizing a comparative analysis and existing challenges to deal with this commodity. The company Copenhagen pectin A/S of Denmark made recognition of areas for cultivation of Eucheuma sp., in Cabo Delgado province in Northern Mozambique having identified 940 ha, where about 450 ha was used in an experimental phase in the years 1995-1997; gross harvest was estimated at about 3000 to 5000 tons. Production in this country dwindled afterwards and in 2004 it reduced to 140 tons. All farms were closed in 2009 due to production problems, diseases and inconsistent logistics. This activity was achieved using off-botton method (floating rafts methods only tested). This venture involved about 2,000 farmers, of whom 80% were women. Local mariculturists (men and woman) earned about 60 USD per month. Nampula Province (northern Mozambique) seaweed cultivation testing dates back to 2006, but quite recently in 2018, a Tunisian-based company (Selt Mozambique) started in euchematoid testing farming using modified off-bottom method on a concession of 500 Ha in Nacala Bay and in the adjacent Fernão Veloso Bay where they employed up to 700 people. Kappaphycus alverezii and Eucheuma denticulatum are the cultured species. Kenya cultivation located in southern Kenya is centered in two species, using modified off-bottom method. Most production is exported mainly via Tanzania were the above mentioned Selt company (with office in Zanzibar) is a buyer. Kenya has witness an increase of seaweed production frpm 5 to 94 MT per year, in 6 years. Kenya process involved five stakeholder’s groups whereas Mozambique new start in Nampula involves mainly three. Floating raft methods testing yielded more seaweed production however this method poses some challenges for community engagement in wider commercial cultivation. Outcomes of this document will help to oversee and brainstorming on best-practices in eucheumatoid cultivation and community engagement support as well steer discussion on interconnecting value chains in the region of the Western Indian Ocean.
The cultivation of eucheumatoids started in the Philippines in 1960s and has since spread to many parts of the world. The traditional fixed, off-bottom monoline method which cannot adjust to abrupt changes in seawater conditions during low tides has compromised seaweed cultivars from increasing sea surface temperature. Ice-ice disease and epiphytes are twin maladies that brought down the production of eucheumatoids in recent years. Certain farms have collapsed at heights of hot dry months due to ice-ice disease and, in many cases, heavy infestations with epiphytes. Microbes induce ice-ice disease including bacteria and marine-derived fungi. Epiphytic filamentous algae like Polysiphonia-Neosiphonia complex heavily infested many seaweed farms in Zanzibar. Kappaphycus alvarezii, while observed to exhibit antimicrobial activity, also exhibits growth-promoting properties when tested with several bacterial strains. A model for seaweed-microbe pathosystem is proposed citing that while seaweeds have antimicrobial properties, under stressful environmental conditions, they can be overcome by opportunistic pathogens. Avoidance of maladies can mean a change in the farming practice, from off-bottom method to either floating line or raft method, and shifting the farming from shallow to deeper waters. In this era of warming seas farmers need to adopt to overcome the chronic problem of ice-ice and epiphytism.
Green and brown Kappaphycus alvarezii strains obtained from commercial seaweed farms in Bohol, Philippines were brought to Tosa City, Kochi Prefecture, Japan in in 1992. Yearly field cultivation trials during warmer months were undertaken in the subtropical waters of Tosa Bay by the Pacific Ocean until a farming protocol was established in 2015. Only the green Kappaphycus alvarezii survived. The seaweed biomass was out-planted in Tosa Bay in spring when surface seawater temperature (SST) was 23oC. Seedlings were tied 20 cm apart on lines 0.50 cm to 1 m from the surface to floating cages (10m X 10m). Seaweed growth increased as SST increased 24-25oC in June, doubling its weight in a week in August when temperature was 28-29oC. This slowed when the SST increased to 32oC, stabilizing in September (28oC), and continuing to grow well until 23oC in November. One or two smaller harvests were made before September with the third and largest harvest in November for a total annual yield of 2t fresh seaweed from and initial 20 kg seed stock. Seed stock for the next planting season was selected from the best of the last harvest and this was maintained in covered tanks with seawater maintained at 23oC, under natural light, within a land-based hatchery.
Harvests were mainly marketed for human food, some as frozen seaweed or in dried powder form. The most important market (~30% of fresh harvest) that has sustained this boutique-type of Kappaphycus farming operation was its use in gourmet, Italian and French cuisine in Japan with the fresh, harvested seaweeds shipped to their kitchens. The profitable production of smaller, controlled volumes of good quality, fresh Kappaphycus by boutique type operations, as demonstrated in Tosa Bay, may provide an option to the large commercial operations that are presently practiced for the carrageenan market.
- Live Discussion on 07 Jul 2021 14:00 WITA (UTC + 8)
Indonesia is the largest producer of Eucheumatoid seaweeds, however, production constraints include the declining quality of seaweeds, particularly reduced gel strength, as well as variation in production and product quality between farming sites and across seasons. Furthermore, there are limited examples of controlled experiments evaluating these issues at farm sites nor in a standardised manner. This presentation describes the outcomes of R&D by Loka Riset Budidaya Rumput Laut (Centre for Seaweed Culture Research and Development, Gorontalo) on key production constraints for Kappaphycus, funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. The objective of the work was to improve the quality of seaweeds produced at the farm level by focusing on molecular identification of cultivars across Indonesia and the evaluation of production and product quality in farm-scale production trials over 3 years. Key outputs during this time include genetic diversity analysis of cultivated Kappaphycus in Indonesian seaweed farms using COI gene, assessment of growth and product quality of Kappaphycus using standard techniques at different farming locations in Indonesia, the collection of Kappaphycus cultivars from throughout Indonesia and evaluation of growth and product quality using a common garden approach, and the demonstration of the ability to rejuvenate “old” strains of Kappaphycus and assessment of “superior” strains in other locations.
Optimizing the seed production process is very important for the success of seaweed cultivation. Red seaweed can reproduce by spores. Spores are part of the seaweed life cycle; they are single-celled and function like the seeds of vascular plants. There are various potential advantages of using spores as seeds in the seaweed cultivation industry, especially in the red algae or Rodophyta. A series of studies on the effect of salinity, temperature, light colour, and type of artificial substrate on Kappaphycus alvarezii spore release and development were carried out in 2013 and 2014 at Hasanuddin University, followed in 2015 by experiments on growing spores into adult plants in the sea in Takalar Regency, South Sulawesi. Both temperature (optimal range 31-35 °C) and salinity (optimal range 30-35 ppt) had a significant effect on spore release, survival as well as plantlet growth and morphology, while green light proved unsuitable. In the sea, high quality thallus was produced in around 8 weeks. Predation by fish, crabs, and molluscs was a challenge. Once pest problems were overcome the seedlings grew well. They were densely branched with relatively large branch diameter and pointed tips, a turgid dense texture and a bright shiny colour, characteristic of good quality seaweed seeds. After 12 weeks of co-cultivation with seaweed farmers, the harvested yield of seaweed from spore-grown seeds was clearly superior to that from vegetative thallus cuttings in terms of quality (e.g. colour and branch morphology) as well as quantity. Spore-based culture shows great promise for K. alvarezii as well as other seaweeds, including Gracilaria sp.
Eucheumatoid cultivation continues to expand with a variety of methods that can increase production. However, new cultivation approaches are rarely reported. This study examines new methods of seaweed cultivation in floating cages/nets including: horizontal net, vertical net, basket net and longnet. The research was conducted from March to November 2019 in the coastal waters of Baubau, one of the prime seaweed cultivation areas in Southeast Sulawesi Province, Indonesia. The growth rate of Kappaphycus alvarezii in these floating cage variants was assessed, and compared with the traditional longline approach. Propagule wet weight was measured daily to document growth rates. The results show that K. alvarezii grew faster with better thallus morphology in the floating cages than using longline cultivation. Daily production and specific growth rates (SGR) of K. alvarezii were higher for cultivation in the floating cages than on longlines. Moreover, cultivation in floating cages not only improved growth rate but also protected the seaweed from attack (grazing) by herbivores, especially herbivorous fish such as siganids.
One of the constraints on K. alvarezii cultivation in Indonesia is the decrease in production during the summer season. Water quality parameters such as temperature and light intensity will change between seasons. We investigated the effects of temperature and light intensity on the production of K. alvarezii (brown type) over the summer season by observing photosynthetic activity based on the level of chlorophyll fluorescence measured by PAM (Pulse Amplitude Modulated) Imaging. Photosynthetic parameters of Maximum Quantum Yield (Fv/Fm) and Effective Quantum Yield (ΦPSII) were observed in order to determine the photosynthetic-stress and the potential for recovery of affected seaweed. Based on the Fv/Fm value, K. alvarezii could not recover after experiencing photosynthetic-stress at the higher temperature (34 ᵒC) and higher light intensity (1,000 mol photons m-2 s-1) levels. We found that ΦPSII was 0 e– per photon at light intensity of 1000 mol photon m-2 s-1 and at temperatures of 20, 27 and 34 ᵒC. Based on temperature and light intensity recorded in seaweed farming areas around South Sulawesi, the findings show that conditions prevalent are often outside the range suitable for K. alvarezii photosynthetic activity, especially during the summer season.
Carrageenan is a natural carbohydrate obtained from red seaweed of carrageenanophytes. It is formed by alternate units of D-galactose and 3,6-anhydro-D-galactose, with ester-sulfate groups in different position of saccharide units. Bio-refinery technologies are very useful to control the degradation and get exactly the carrageenan oligosaccharide structure that you want.
The enzyme used for biodegradation is called carrageenase. In our research, one marine bacterium which can degrade carrageenan has been isolated and identified as Zobellia galactanivorans. The cloning and sequencing of the κ-carrageenase gene, and the expression of the recombinant κ-carrageenase were carried out both in E. coli and Pichia pastoris. The recombinant enzyme was used to comprehensive utilize the seaweed of Kappaphycus, and the potential application of three products were carried out. The carrageenan sulfatase has high desulfurization rate which can remove the sulfate from the molecules and form the anhydro-bond. Researches were carried out to develop different sulfatases with substrate specificity.
Carrageenophytes are abundant in tropical area. By development of biorefinery technology, we can obtain various kinds of carrageenan product that can be used in feed, functional food, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals, and thus greatly improve the economic value of Carrageenophytes.
Malaysia harbours an extensive coastline of 4,675 km with 418 000 km2 of continental shelf area which provides natural habitats for the marine seaweeds. Currently, there is a total of 402 taxa of seaweeds being recorded which comprising Chlorophyta (13 families, 110 taxa), Rhodophyta (27 families, 189 taxa), Phaeophyta (8 families, 86 taxa) and Cyanophyta (8 families, 17 taxa). Hence, these have provided natural ecosystem for farming seaweeds in Malaysia. In fact, Kappaphycus alvarezii (Doty) L.M.Liao, the main cultivar of eucheumatoid was first described from Karindingan Island on Creagh Reef, Sabah. The seaweeds cultivation of Eucheumatoids was initiated in the 1970s at Semporna, Sabah with the assistance from Maxwell Doty and teams but it was not successful as then traditional methods were used which resulted in low productivity. From the 1980s, the government took over the project by giving various assistance to the farmers as well funding for research & development, these have subsequently increased the production of eucheumatoids in Sabah and established the seaweed aquaculture in Sabah. Today, Malaysia is the world’s third largest producer for eucheumatoids but there is a declined of production since 2012. Studies have shown that there could be due to several factors that might possibly cause the decline of the production. In this paper, we will discuss the factors as well as suggestions to mitigate the problems in achieving a sustainable aquaculture industry in Malaysia.
Here are 9 species of Eucheuma distributed in Hainan, Xisha islands and Taiwan in China, and Eucheuma striatum and Eucheuma gelatinae are mainly farmed in Hainan island early in the 1980’s. Eucheuma striatum was firstly introduced by Prof. Wu Chaoyuan from the Philippines in 1985, and successful cultivation was implemented, but no successful achievements were made since that case. This was probably mainly because of unfavorable cultivation conditions, carrageenan derived red seaweed as feeder by basket fish, and the rising labor cost, etc. China is now become the largest carrageenan exporter country on global market. There are still facing the challenge on strains selection and parameters optimization for ecological cultivation to those in Southeast countries. Moreover, high water retention carrageenan, highly acid resistant carrageenan, and dietary fiber developments and applications, especially to the capsule usage are highly required. It is deserve to enhance the governmental encouragements to promote cultivation in the Southeast countries, to conduct the new product development from carrageenan, certainly this will rely on the multiple disciplines integration for genetic, physiological and pathological studies of these carrageenophytic red seaweeds, and strengthen the regional and global cooperation in applied research and application.
- Live Discussion on 08 Jul 2021 14:00 WITA (UTC + 8)
The Chilean Gracilaria chilensis (now named Agarophyton chilense), has been cultivated in Chile since 1980, after the collapse of natural populations due to overharvesting. Cultivation is extensive, dominated by small-scale, artisanal farms. Cultivation is achieved by clonal propagation, after replanting part of the harvested biomass. This practice, together with over-harvesting, led to a strong genetic erosion, and most farms are dominated by one or very few clones. Since 2000, biomass production is decaying in Chile, a trend attributed to the loss of biomass quality (i.e., reduced growth rates and epiphytic load). Epiphytes are highly diverse in terms of species composition and the impacts they cause to the host. We proposed a classification of these impact and show that many are causing observable diseases to their host. Besides the low genetic diversity, it is possible to detect resistant strains in farms. This resistance is expressed by the reduction of germination rates and development of epiphytes on Gracilaria’s surface. It is associated with the activation of metabolic pathways triggered by the hydroxylation of fatty acids, and the resistance can be induced by the use of these molecules. We are now exploring the genomic regulation of these pathways and the role of genetic diversity in modulating the spread of epiphytes withing farms. We also investigate how cultivation practices drive the domestication of G. chilensis, and what strategies could provide better resilience to environmental variability and epiphytism.
The farming of the eucheumatoids Kappaphycus and Eucheuma will be driven by an increase in global demand for carrageenan and natural products, consistent with healthier lifestyles and better living standards. In addition to improvements in farming technique and technology, the use of molecular methods is also essential in the pursuit of greater and more sustainable yields. Over the past few decades, the use of DNA-based molecular markers has greatly improved our understanding on these morphologically plastic seaweeds, stemming from simple yet accurate identification and classification of species, strains or cultivars throughout the world. The application of this knowledge is also crucial in documenting the biodiversity of eucheumatoids, detection of bioinvasion and selection of cultivars with better carrageenan yields, growth rate, disease resistance, tolerance towards climate change etc. The present study highlights the milestones achieved in the molecular taxonomy of Kappaphycus and Eucheuma, as well as general challenges and future recommendations associated with the field.
The global demand for the carrageenophyte Kappaphycus is steadily increasing but its overall productivity, carrageenan quality, and disease resistance are gradually declining. In the face of this dilemma, wild Kappaphycus populations and natural selective breeding are viewed as possible sources of new cultivars that could potentially enhance production and phycocolloid yield and quality. Therefore, assessment of their diversity is crucial. Morphological and genetic diversity of wild Kappaphycus species obtained from two sites in the Philippines recorded novel haplotypes along with other published haplotypes. These newly recognized haplotypes indicate a reservoir of unutilized wild genotypes in the Philippines, which could be taken advantage of in developing new cultivars with superior traits. Moreover, natural selective breeding of progenies derived from sexual and meiotic spore production can produce new generations of tetrasporophytes and gametophytes, for assessment of desirable phenotypes.
Disruptions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic increased the difficulty of monitoring seaweed production in Indonesia. This talk provides an overview of recent research using satellite imagery to monitor seaweed production over time in Pangkep, South Sulawesi. The talk discusses the usefulness of satellite data in monitoring the industry remotely, as well as the range of challenges and limitations associated with its use.
Seaweed extracts for agricultural crops have long been used with high success. Their global market value is indeed high primarily due to the manifold benefits derived. Recently, seaweed extracts were applied in seaweed from micropropagation specifically for tissue culture, and also in land-sea-based nurseries and field cultivation, and also disease, epi-endophytes mitigation, as well as improvements for hydrocolloid (carrageenan) qualities. Applications of seaweed extracts were first used to benefit Ulva, Kappaphycus and Eucheuma spp., but more recently the same technology has been tested with other red seaweeds, e.g., Eucheumatopsis, Gracilaria and Laurencia as well as the brown seaweed Saccharina.
This presentation deals mainly with published applications of an extract from the brown seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum to eucheumatoids, i.e., Kappaphycus and Eucheuma spp. This discourse hopefully points the way to further research and innovations on a wider variety of commercially cultivated seaweeds. In particular, work is required to emulate the understanding gained from applications of phycostimulants to land plants and understand the varied modes of actions of various types of extracts, i.e., the algal-based, molecular pathways which determine production, quality and also mitigate abiotic and biotic stresses such as diseases and epi-endophytes in the eucheumatoids – all mechanisms which are poorly understood at present, but which are key to future phyconomic sustainability and prosperity.
- Live Discussion on 08 Jul 2021 14:00 WITA (UTC + 8)
Indonesia has a high potential in terms of seaweed species diversity. The Siboga Expedition (1899) recorded 782 species comprising 196 species of Chlorophyta, 134 species of Pheophyta and 452 species of Rhodophyta. Ethnobotany and ethnopharmacological studies have been carried out in several areas to determine the species commonly consumed as food and used for herbal medicine. In 2019, Tri Handayami updated the data with details of 201 species of Chlorophyta, 138 species of Pheophyta and 564 species of Rhodophyta to a total of 903 species. Despite this diversity, relatively few species have been cultivated and commercialized. These include several species of Carrageenophytes (Kappaphycus alvarezii, Eucheuma denticulatum, Kappaphycus striatus) and Agarophytes (Gracilaria changii, Gracilaria verucosa etc.). The harvest is both absorbed by the domestic industry and exported. Some species are harvested from nature but have not been cultivated, such as Sargassum sp. and Gelidium sp. and are used for a variety of purposes (food, feed and others), while Caulerpa sp. and Ulva sp. recently began to be cultivated. The processing industry is developing, and is now producing several carrageenan and agar products, and several special application products (e.g. with blending), both for domestic use and for export. Innovation is needed for sustainability and increasing the competitiveness of Indonesia’s seaweed industry by promoting the national programs supported by fostering a “national seaweed industry innovation and competitiveness ecosystem”, within the penta-helix (government, business, academia, civil society/community and the media) collaboration paradigm.
The Centre of Excellence for Development and Utilization of Seaweed (CEDUS) is one of the CoEs at Universitas Hasanuddin (Unhas) and is the only CoE in Indonesia that specifically focuses on seaweed. The establishment of the CEDUS in Unhas is based on the potential of South Sulawesi as a major seaweed cultivation and trading centre in Indonesia, in addition to the fact that Unhas has experts in various aspects of seaweed research and development. In 2005-2007 Unhas pioneered seaweed cultivation in South Sulawesi. In 2012, together with other eight stakeholder groups (government agencies, universities, research institutes and private sector), Unhas initiated the establishment of the Seaweed Research and Development Centre Consortium (KP3RL). The KP3RL focused on seeking new/improved seaweed varieties, providing superior seeds and cultivating them in the coastal waters around South Sulawesi. This has strengthened the position of South Sulawesi as the largest producer of seaweed in Indonesia with a production of 3.67 million tons per year, contributing around 30-35% of national production. According to a recent report by the Australia-Indonesia Centre, South Sulawesi accounted for around 11% of the total world seaweed production in 2017. In 2018, the KP3RL was transformed into the CEDUS, partnering with Indonesian and overseas institutions. The vision of the CEDUS is to become a leading centre for seaweed research and development in Indonesia by 2025, with the following missions: (1) To master seaweed science and technology as a prime mover in achieving sustainable development; (2) To Increase added value and conserve natural resources through technological mastery; (3) To participate in educating the nation through the application of seaweed science and technology; (4) To improve the performance and good governance of the CoE. CEDUS research on many aspects of seaweed has been published in reputable journals. CEDUS also fosters around 200 seaweed communities that have produced many innovative products. Various seaweed inventions owned/patented by CEDUS include the production of biosugar, bioethanol, capsules, anti-aging cosmetics, high protein seaweed, and technology to increase the production of seaweed products. To achieve the CEDUS objectives, these inventions are a top priority for further development through collaboration. This includes cooperation on seaweed cultivation and utilization of high protein seaweed as a protein food for the future, and there are many other opportunities for collaboration on seaweed-related development, especially through downstream programs. The CEDUS has high hopes that this workshop will open the door for such cooperation
Seaweed innovations will be crucial for the sustainable development of our coastlines with opportunities to enhance economic, environmental and social wellbeing impacts in Indonesia. This talk describes the outcomes of a recently completed (2016-2021) Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research funded project on seaweed production and processing in Indonesia with Balai Besar Riset Pengolahan Produk dan Bioteknologi Kelautan dan Perikanan (Research and Development Centre for Marine and Fisheries Product Processing and Biotechnology, Jakarta), Loka Riset Budidaya Rumput Laut (Centre for Seaweed Culture Research and Development, Gorontalo), Balai Perikanan Budidaya Air Payau (Brackishwater Aquaculture Development Centre, Takalar and Ujung Batee), Hasanuddin University (Makassar) and Sekolah Tinggi Teknologi Kelautan (College of Marine Technology, Makassar).
An overview of project publications is presented including analysing the value chains for established red seaweeds Kappaphycus/Eucheuma, understanding the socio-economic benefits for women from community-scale processing, identifying existing and emerging species of seaweed using molecular barcoding techniques, improving the quality of Kappaphycus/Eucheuma produced at the farm level to enhance gel yields, identifying new product opportunities for seaweeds that can be developed domestically, developing new processing techniques for seaweeds, developing innovative methods to manage processing waste streams from seaweeds, and evaluating food and health applications for seaweeds.
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.
The continuous occurrence of diseases and pests on the eucheumatoid seaweed farming may potentially reduce the production capacity. Applying biosecurity concept in the eucheumatoid aquaculture practice is assisting the aquaculture industry to manage biosecurity risk posed by diseases and pests, and reduces the emergence and spread. To know biosecurity aspects that implement in the eucheumatoid farming, we assessed biosecurity measures of crop-care and farm management practices by seaweed farmer and evaluate the effectiveness of biosecurity measures when applied in the small scale of Kappaphycus farming. The assessment of biosecurity measure practices was done in three Malaysia’s seaweed aquaculture productive areas and 67 seaweed farmers were involved. Farmers were surveyed on their knowledge, attitude and practices toward biosecurity. Results highlighted that most of the farmers do not understand about introduction of disease and pests in their farm, thus make the crop-care and farm management toward biosecurity practices were poor implemented in farm by the farmers. Field observation for evaluating the effectiveness of biosecurity measures in farm practices showed that biosecurity measures of cleaning treatment on crop and farm ropes from macroalgae epiphytes, epi-endophyte and biofilm coverage, and routine monitoring of crop health, were effective to reduce the ice-ice incidence in Kappaphycus farm.
The growth of the Philippine seaweed industry is constrained by environmental factors such as disease and endo/epiphytic infestations and the impacts are further amplified by the prevailing social and governance issues that limit stakeholders’ access to support services that could help mitigate or prevent the adverse impacts of risks and uncertainties. In this paper, we present key findings of the studies we conducted on the social networks and risk perceptions and risk management strategies of seaweed farmers, traders, and processors in the Philippines. The data used for this study was obtained through a series of focus group discussions (FGDs) with women and men seaweed farmers and key informant interviews with traders and processors. We found that informal relationships (i.e., patron-client relations) serves as the foundation of the Philippine seaweed industry and has helped sustain livelihoods across the value chain. As such, we emphasise the value of gender-differentiated and stakeholder-focused value chain risk analysis in order to account for the differential experiences, behavior patterns, and priorities of stakeholder groups across the industry. Moreover, a stronger government support is critical to enable the industry to manage uncertainties and take advantage of opportunities in domestic and international markets.
Seaweed farming involves a range of uncertainties leaving the seaweed farmer at the mercy of nature. However, learning from advances in modern agriculture and technology, there is a lot that can be done in building the right tools to empower the seaweed farmer to make data-driven decisions. The interventions required are multidisciplinary, drawing expertise from fields as varied as crop breeding to drone imaging to weather forecasting. Bringing about lasting solutions would need collaborations between academia, industries and governments.