Farming of Seaweeds, Part 2 Clearing & Seedling Preparation

Clearing and Posting

Clear the area of other species of seaweed, predators, big stones or corals, and other foreign materials that are destructive to seaweeds.

After clearing the area, measure the farm to the correct dimensions. Commence posting by using pointed iron bars or “baras”. There wilt be two types of postings, either nylon lines wilt be parallel to the water current or perpendicular to the water current, respectively. Either type of posting is applicable to monoline-bottom farming which is widely and commonly used because this is economical and well-protected. There is another common method of farming that is the off-bottom bamboo floating method. This method however, is not recommended because it is expensive compared to bottom method and also, this is destructive to fishermen’s passage.

In posting, distances between posts holding one end of the nylon to the other, is one meter apart and with a side distance of at least five to 10 meters. Each post must be buried more or less six meters deep.

One problem in posting is the rocky sea bottom. To push the pointer iron bar use a heavy bull hammer. Then put the wooden post. Cover the total proposed area with posts before planting the seedlings.

Seedling Preparation and Planting

Seedlings must come from a variety that has been proven to grow fast in the area. It must also come from the nearest source to avoid higher mortality and expenses when transporting to the area. However, a seedling bed should be prepared first before any transport of seedling to the area is done. The area will serve as a storing place of seaweed seedlings before planting.

The transport of seedlings is the most risky part of the process. There are factors to consider exposure to direct heat, wind over handling, and length of time off seawater. Seaweeds get their food from seawater brought in by water current so that once they are off the water for more than 12 hours and without pouring seawater into them in-between, seedlings will die. If the seedlings are placed in a container with inadequate ventilation, packed with too much pressure or there is an increase in temperature in the container, seaweed seedlings wilt die. Another factor is, when they are dipped in or wet with fresh water or rain or any other liquid aside from seawater, they will die due to changes in salinity.

The manner of transporting seedlings commonly used and recommended are:

  1. When the time required for transporting seedlings 6 is eight (8) hours or less, then use a bamboo basket or wider bancas, covering them with cloth wet with seawater or any cotton made materials to avoid its exposure to sunlight and/or wind. In every one to two hours, wet them by pouring fresh seawater to maintain the temperature and the freshness of the seaweeds.
  2. When the time required is more than eight hours but less than 36 hours, then use jute bags. Place the seedlings loosely inside the bags and dip it in seawater before loading them. While on transport, pour fresh seawater to the bag every three to four hours to maintain the temperature and the freshness of the seaweeds. It should be noted that these bags should be placed in cool, well covered and spacious portion of the boat, seeing to it that they are not placed one on top of the other.
  3. When seedlings are transported for more than 36 hours, it is advisable that a plastic bag with corals and coarser sand inside is advisable. However, this type of transport is not recommended for commercial farming because it is expensive.

All transported seedlings should be placed immediately in the seedling bed. However, it is advisable that the seedlings are planted immediately to the area. Storing the seedlings in the seedling bed for more days will cause them to die especially that they are placed close to each other. Usually, minimum mortality on transported seedlings is 20 to 30 percent.

Split unsplitted seedlings to desired weight and size. Tie the seedlings with straw and place them in a separate container in the area.

Common ways of tying seedlings to nylon lines:

  1. Underwater, fastened a nylon line to the post. The planter will bring in the seedlings to the area and tie them to the nylon line. This procedure is advisable only when the tide is down and the current is not strong.
  2. Or, place a nylon line between posts off the water and tie the seedlings to the line. After completely tying all the seedlings to line, place both ends of the nylon line to the opposite posts underwater. This way is good for all tidal positions except when raining or exposed to direct sunlight.
  3. Or, tie the seedlings directly to the nylon line near the seedling bed but if there is already a house, then do it inside the farmhouse. Then bring the nylon lines to the area and tie the lines to the posts underwater.

It is common practice that seedlings are tied to nylon tines at a distance of eight to 12 inches apart. During the process of tying, seedlings must be covered from direct sunlight or rain. But it is advisable to submerge them in seawater most of the time.

In planting seedlings in a bamboo-raft follow the same procedure as in mono-line bottom method, only that nylon lines are tied to the bamboo rather than to the posts.

source:  Seaweeds, An Industry Profile DA-AMAS

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