Ice-ice disease and epiphytes infestation swamped the coasts of the Zamboanga peninsula cutting down seaweed production drastically in recent months, local officials reported.
Latest statistics show that Zamboanga City suffered the stiffest decline in aquaculture production with negative growth of 42.8 percent as a result of the ailing seaweed sector. The twin aberrations dropped the annual seaweed yield by 22 percent, the Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development reported.
Ice-ice is caused by low salinity, change in water temperature, and light intensity. When the seaweed is under stress, it emits a moist organic substance that attracts bacteria in the water and induces the "whitening" and hardening of the seaweed branches, PCAMRD experts explained.
Meanwhile, water epiphytes (Lyngbya majuscula), are non-parasitic small hairy algae that attach themselves on the host plants. Epiphytes growing on seaweed cover the photosynthetic parts of the plant inhibiting sunlight that in turn cut the plant's food making capabilities. Growth of epiphyte-infested seaweed is reduced and branches are stunted.
At least 10 hectares of seaweed farms in Sinunuc-Caragasan area in Zamboanga City are infested with…