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Diversification of seaweed industries in Pacific island countries

This project is conducting research for development activities relating to seaweed production and bio-product evaluation in Fiji, Samoa and Kiribati. The project aims to diversify the activities and opportunities available to the seaweed industry in the Pacific Islands, and to make the local industry in each partner country more resilient to both external and internal changes.
Seaweed is an important commodity for aquaculture in the Pacific. Seaweeds are produced for food and as industrial products throughout the Pacific, and many communities rely on this production for significant portions of their income. Its farming is culturally and technologically appropriate, provides substantial livelihood benefits to men and women in remote communities, and seaweed could be exported. Businesses have identified a need for diverse products as well as the commonly produced carrageenan (used as a food thickener and stabiliser). The seaweed industry could be modernised and expanded, with the support of government, fisheries departments, researchers and the private sector.
This project will improve production of both carrageenan-producing seaweeds and edible seaweeds in Fiji, Samoa and Kiribati for local and export markets. It will also assess opportunities for new seaweed products, such as fertilisers, stock feeds and biologically active chemicals. The research will include fisheries agencies, industry partners and local communities in village-based studies. Outputs will include a regional database and standard operating procedures for seaweed production.
The research is expected to revitalise seaweed production in remote coastal areas, and to increase the capacity of researchers and farmers in seaweed culture.