- Seaweed farming or Kelp farming is the practice of cultivating and harvesting seaweed.
- Seaweeds are macroscopic algae growing in the marine and shallow coastal waters and on rocky shores.
- Seaweeds are wonder plants of the sea, the new renewable source of food, energy, chemicals and medicines with manifold nutritional, industrial, biomedical, agriculture and personal care applications.
- Seaweeds are also termed as the ‘Medical Food of the 21st Century’ as they are being used as laxatives, for making pharmaceutical capsules, in treatment of goiter, cancer, bone-replacement therapy and in cardiovascular surgeries.
- The major industrial applications of seaweeds are as a source of agar, agarose and carrageenan used in laboratories, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, cardboard, paper, paint and processed foods. In India there are 46 seaweed-based industries, 21 for Agar and 25 for Alginate production, but they are not functioning up to their rated capacity, due to short- supply of raw materials.
A farming project that aims to produce 30,000 tonnes of seaweed a year was launched in September this year, in the Lakshadweep archipelago, off the southwest coast of India.
Commercial Significance of Seaweeds
- Seaweed is full of vitamins, minerals, & fibre.
- Many seaweeds contain anti-inflammatory & anti-microbial agents.
- They are known to process significant medicinal effects.
- Certain seaweeds possess powerful cancer-fighting agents.
- They are effective binding agents (emulsifiers) & are used commercial goods as toothpaste & fruit jelly, & popular softeners (emollients) in organic cosmetics & skin-care products.
- Seaweed sap as animal food feed (poultry and cattle)
Improved body weight of poultry (especially breast) and cattle
- Better Immuno-responsiveness
- Better gut-health (microbial & structural)
- Higher egg production and advancement in
egg laying age
- Seaweed, or macroalgae, refers to thousands of species of macroscopic, multicellular, marine algae.
- Seaweed is plant-like organisms, playing a key ecological role in coastal ecosystems.
- Seaweed is the common name for countless species of marine plants & algae that grow in the ocean as well as in rivers, lakes, & other water bodies.
- A seaweed may belong to one of several groups of multi-cellular algae: the red algae, green algae, and brown algae.
- Like plants, they use light to fix atmospheric carbon dissolved in water. Macroalgae are amongst the most powerful carbon-fixing organisms on earth. Their size ranges from a few millimetres up to 50 metres.
- They are macrophytic which means they live in water or moist land surfaces.
- They generally grow in the shallow waters in the tidal zone.
- Some seaweeds are microscopic, such as the phytoplankton that lives suspended in the water column and provides the base for most marine food chains.
- Some are enormous, like the giant kelp that grow in abundant “forests” from their roots at the bottom.
- Most are medium-sized, come in colors of red, green, brown, and black, and randomly wash up on beaches and shorelines just about everywhere.
- Seaweeds exhibit the highest photosynthesis efficiency due to moist conditions.
- They contribute to about 50% of all photosynthesis in the world.
Importance of Sea-weed Farming
- Provide occupation for the coastal people.
- Provide continuous supply of raw material for seaweed-based industry.
- Seaweed farming is eco-friendly.
- It is a major tool to treat coastal pollution in the sea & reduce CO2 in global warming.
Sea-weed Cultivation: Potential in India
- India is among the 12 mega-biodiversity nations in the world.
- India has an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 2.17 million km2.
- The Indian coastline, with its different coastal ecosystems, supports the luxuriant growth of diverse seaweed populations, having considerable economic importance.
- About 844 seaweed species are reported from India which has a coastline of 7,500 km.
- On the West Coast, especially in Gujarat, abundant resources are present in the intertidal & subtidal regions.
Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY)
- aims to enhance fish production to 220 LMT with an investment of over Rs.20,000 crores in next five years
- “Economic Revolution through Blue Revolution”
- Shri Giriraj Singh says insurance coverage for fishing vessels to be introduced for the first time
- Government to register 3,477 “Sagar Mitra” in coastal fisher villages and encourage Fish Farmers Producer Organizations (FFPOs): Shri Giriraj Singh