ICAR-CMFRI guides Lakshadweep Administration to launch large-scale Farming of Indigenous Seaweeds

After fisheries, coconut and tourism, the Lakshadweep Administration has prioritized Seaweed Farming as the next major development driver of the Islands. To achieve it, the ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi, Kerala has launched a massive demonstration of farming of Seaweeds in 9 inhabited Islands of Lakshadweep.

The Island has an immense potential for producing quality Seaweeds in the serene and pollution free Lagoons of Lakshadweep for high-end utilization like the pharmaceuticals, food and nutraceuticals.

Large-scale Farming of Indigenous Seaweeds: A boost to tourism in Lakshadweep Islands  Large-scale Farming of Indigenous Seaweeds: A boost to tourism in Lakshadweep Islands

Being farmed in nearly 2,500 bamboo rafts, the indigenous red algae, Gracilaria edulis and Acanthophora spicifera are the species that benefits 100 families belonging to 10 Women Self-Help Groups in the different islands. Known for its unique tuna fisheries and myriads of beautiful corals, reef fishes and other creatures; now, the marine sphere of the Islands are more likely to be known as the Seaweed Farming Hub of India soon.

Large-scale Farming of Indigenous Seaweeds: A boost to tourism in Lakshadweep Islands

The demonstration focuses on popularizing the Seaweed Farming in the Islands, capacity building of stakeholders & pre-feasibility and impact assessment for a planned development of Seaweed Farming Enterprise in the Islands.

Under the Programme launched on 21st August, 2021, nearly 400 rafts seeded with G edulis seed strains grown in the Islands by the ICAR-CMFRI and the seed sourced from Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu have been deployed. The additional units to reach the target of 2,500 rafts are being added as the seed materials are developed in subsequent farming cycles of 45 days.

The Institute’s recent studies revealed an unprecedented growth performance of indigenous seaweed species in the various lagoons of Lakshadweep with nearly 60-folds growth in 45 days for the species Gracilaria edulis.

Now, the Lakshadweep Administration has joined hands with the Institute for multi-locational trial farming and capacity building of stakeholders. Thus, experimental-scale trial farming was conducted in the Islands of Kiltan, Chetlah, Kadmath, Agatti and Kavaratti during 2020-21 with promising results.

The studies revealed the Island Territory’s potential of producing nearly 30,000 Tonnes of Dry Seaweed per year worth Rs. 75 Crores by farming only 1% (200 ha) of its 21,290 ha of Lagoon area (Inhabited Islands only) at the rate of a modest 150 Tonnes per hectare.

The sea being the major sink of carbon and the Seaweeds well known for its carbon sequestration properties, the farming of Seaweed at such a scale would sequester nearly 6,500 Tonnes carbon dioxide per day adding a huge carbon credit to the nation while providing a climate resilient livelihood to the Islanders.

(Source: ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi, Kerala)