Oceans | VOL. 11, ISSUE 67, July-August 2011

Sea Farming: A New Model for Sustainable Livelihood in Coastal India

Macro marine algae, the humble seaweed, is today considered one of the best sources of food, fodder, fertiliser, medicine and chemicals. Seaweed extract is widely used in toothpaste, ice cream, tomato ketchup, textile printing, teeth filling, cosmetics, tissue culture, plywood, packaging and many other industries. Recently, it has been proposed that large scale seaweed cultivation may be used for carbon dioxide sequestration to combat global warming. China, Japan, Korea and Philippines together produce more than 24 million tonnes of wet seaweed worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually. The seaweed industry is a fast growing multi-billion dollar business worldwide. In India, there is a tremendous opportunity for development of new business and enterprise in this area. Sea farming through large scale seaweed cultivation can be developed as an alternate and additional means of livelihood for the people inhabiting the country’s vast coastal areas. In recent years, fishing for a livelihood is becoming increasingly stressed. Daily earnings of the indigenous communities engaged in fishing are meagre and to supplement it many illegally mine coral, engage in unscientific fishing activities to maximise harvests, or practice indiscriminate seaweed harvesting - harmful for the marine ecosystem. Poverty, disease, malnutrition, lack of job opportunities and a host of other problems force many to migrate to nearby towns. Thus, there is an urgent need to enhance the earning capabilities of the...

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