After fisheries, coconut and tourism, the Lakshadweep administration has prioritized seaweed farming as the next major engine of economic development.
What is Seaweed farming?
- The simplest and most common cultivation method is to attach pieces of seaweed to rope lines or nets that are suspended in the sea, often near the coast.
- They hang on wooden stakes or on a floating wooden framework dug down into the seabed.
- Seaweeds are fast-growing algae. They utilise energy from sunlight, and take up nutrients and carbon dioxide from the seawater.
- Seaweed is consumed in several countries, especially in East Asian countries.
- It is also used in food additives, medicine, fertiliser and cosmetic goods and to combat beach erosion.
Key-highlights of the new initiative
- It is launched under the guidance of premier marine research body Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) headquartered in Kochi.
- The initiative is in line with a study conducted by CMFRI which found immense potential for quality seaweeds in pollution-free lagoons for high-end utilisation like pharmaceuticals, food and nutraceuticals.
- It is planning a production of about 30,000 tonnes worth ?7.5 million in a year.
- In line with the new plan, a farming demonstration of seaweeds was launched in nine inhabited islands.
Important species to be involved in the plan
- Indigenous red algae
- Gracilaria edulis
- Acanthophora spicifera
What is need of farming?
Farming helps in more production
- Experimental farming was conducted in the islands of Kiltan, Chetlah Kadmath, Agatti and Kavaratti with good results.
- The island has a potential of producing nearly 30,000 tonnes of dry seaweed per year worth ?7.5 million by farming only 1% (200 ha) of its 21,290 ha of lagoon area (inhabited islands only).