6 Oct 2006

Fiji fisheries ministry plans revival of seaweed industry

11:24 am on 6 October 2006

The fisheries ministry in Fiji is planning a revival of the seaweed industry which collapsed in the 1990s after a promising start.

Fiji TV reports that the collapse was due to poor marketing, high transportation costs, low price and irregular shipping from the outer islands where seaweed was grown.

It quotes an official Malakai Tuiloa, as saying there have been successful trials at Ono-i-Lau in the Lau Group and off the Macuata coast in Vanua Levu, and they hope to produce 200 tonnes this year.

By 2015, the plan is to produce 10,000 tonnes of dried seaweed valued at 12-million US dollars.

Mr Tuiloa says the fisheries ministry will buy a vessel from China next year to help with transportation from outer islands.

Seaweed is a fast growing crop which is ready for harvesting only seven weeks after planting.