This project aimed to improve the long-term profitability of the seaweed aquaculture industry in South-East Asia by diversifying products and stopping productivity from declining.
Seaweed aquaculture is a large and growing industry in South-East Asia with focal points in the Philippines and Indonesia. Seaweed is the only source of income for many coastal communities, but productivity of seaweed aquaculture in the two countries has steadily declined for more than a decade. The main cause of this decline is thought to be the industry's reliance on a handful of cloned strains.
This project found, tested and distributed new high-performing strains of those seaweeds used in the hydrocolloid industry (producing carrageenan). New strains could bolster productivity in areas under cultivation and allow new regions to be sustainably developed. It allows for the generation of new revenue streams, particularly in South Sulawesi, Indonesia, by developing other products from the large amount of waste remaining after seaweed is processed for carrageenan. The research team investigated alternatives such as a seaweed fertiliser product and animal feed supplements.