Mangaluru, Oct 31 2017: Seaweed farming hasn’t caught on even though the Karnataka State’s coastline is suitable for it. There is a lack of need in the past about it, and it’s not a part of fishermen’s life, said experts at Mangaluru on Oct 30, Monday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Oct 29, Sunday suggested that fishermen and self-help group members could take up seaweed cultivation. In his address in Ujire, PM Modi said it had pharmaceutical and nutritional values and can be used in farm applications to earn income.
A scientist from the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute in Mangaluru stated to media that the institute conducted a biodiversity survey for the Karnataka Biodiversity Board in 2006-07 and found good amount of natural red and green seaweeds. Like in Tamil Nadu, new seaweed species can be introduced and fishermen can go for large-scale production of see weeds in the State.
He said unlike in Tamil Nadu and coasts of Gujarat, seaweed farming is not practised on the Karnataka coastline. “Fishermen have for ages relied on fish yield. Seaweed farming is not a part of the culture here,” the scientist said.
As fish catch has been decreasing every successive year in the region, the CMFRI scientist said fishermen can diversify to seaweed farming for earning extra income.
Gangadhara Gowda, professor, Aquatic Environment Management, College of Fisheries, Mangaluru, said absence of market is one of the reasons for it not thriving in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada.
“As there are no buyers for seaweed, you do not see anybody taking to seaweed farming here,” Gowda said. With a good amount of carbohydrates, magnesium and potassium, the seaweed serves as natural manure for agricultural lands. The seaweed, which has medicinal property, was being used in the preparation of materials, namely gels, lipsticks and ice creams.
“Creation of demand will automatically prompt fishermen to take up sea weed farming here,” he added.