Seaweed Cultivation Impacts

Commercial cultivation of Kappaphycusalvarezii was introduced in India during 1994 by Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSIR-CSMCRI), Bhavnagar, from Japan. After the initial laboratory cultureand experimental farming along the coast of Saurashtra, the species was introduced into Gulf of Mannar (GOM) for promoting commercial farming and later extended to Mandapam area of Palk Bay during 1995-1997. Since then, Kappaphycus cultivation has spread to several Indian coastal areas and results indicate the feasibility of large-scale Kappaphycus commercial cultivation in Indian waters as an alternative livelihood income generation for the coastal community.

As farming operations expanded, apprehensions over their impact on the coastal environment, on native species and on biodiversity started to emerge. The spread of K alvarezii in the sub-tidal area of the Mandapam region triggered the need for assessing the impactof its spread and preventing its further spread in Gulf of Mannar Marine National park (GoMMNP)

A study was undertaken by NSCSM to assess the extent of reefs affected by the introduced red alga and assess the potential role of its long-term commercial cultivation in Palk Bay for their spread in GOMwith following objectives

  • Assessment of long term impact of Kappaphycusalvarezii culture in Palk Bay (PB) and Gulf of Mannar (GOM)
  • Identify causes of spread of Kappaphycus in Gulf of Mannar
  • Suggest management measures to deal with algal Invasions