The emerging seaweed farming industry in the country will get a major boost, with the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) transferring its technology of seaweed cultivation to the Andaman administration.

CMFRI provided scientific inputs on methods of seaweed farming suitable to the Islands, as part of the institute’s initiative for intensifying its consultancy services. The seaweed cultivation is generally perceived as one of the most environmentally benign types of mariculture activity.

A feasibility study conducted in the seawater-inundated areas in South Andamans by a team of CMFRI scientists revealed that these regions are highly prospective for seaweed farming. Aimed at avoiding environmental disruptions, CMFRI selected the coastal areas devoid of coral reefs.

As part of transferring the technology, CMFRI provided practical training on methods of the farming practices to Fisheries department in Andamans. Training on fabrication of floating rafts with bamboo, tying of seed material (seaweed fragments) in the ropes, tying of seeded ropes in the bamboo rafts and positioning them in the sea were given to the participants.

A.K. Abdul Nazar, Scientist-in-Charge of Mandapam Regional Centre and Johnson, B, Scientist at the Centre coordinated the training programme.

The seaweed-farming venture will definitely help meet the growing demand in the industry, said Abdul Nazar. Seaweeds are renewable source of food, energy, chemicals and medicines and valuable source of raw material for industries like health, food, medicines, pharmaceuticals, textiles, fertilizers, animal feed, etc. Chemicals from brown seaweeds such as alginic acid, mannitol, laminarin, fucoidin and iodine have been extracted successfully on a commercial basis, he added.