Realising that seaweeds have the potential to meet food and fuel needs of the growing global population, a consortium of European scientists has come out with a set of guidelines that would help people farm them in a sustainable way.
Written by: editorial /The Hindu Business Line
The guidelines brought out under a project, funded by the European Cooperation of Science and Technology (COST), is one of the first such initiatives in the world.
Even though seaweeds can be used for human consumption, as bio-fertilisers, for food/feed or bio-energy production, and can provide raw materials for cosmetic and pharmaceutical products, its commercial production is still in nascent stage, with only 1 per cent of the global output coming from aquaculture in 2016.
Currently, only 30 million tonnes of seaweeds, valuing €8 billion, are being harvested every year. In India, seaweeds grow abundantly along the Tamil Nadu and Gujarat coasts and around Lakshadweep and the Andaman and Nicobar islands. Of the nearly 700 species of marine algae found in both inter-tidal and deep water regions of the Indian coast, about 60 species are commercially important, according to a report from the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI).
A multi-country team of scientists has come with fine details on the status quo, best practices, legislation and regulations that apply to the production with a focus on consumption of seaweed as food or food supplement.
Called Phycomorph European Guidelines for a Sustainable Seaweed aquaculture or Pegasus, this report argued that seaweed aquaculture has the potential to addressglobal challenges related to nutrition, health and sustainable circular bio-economy.