19 Mar 2012

Seaweed exports seen as having great potential for rural Pacific islanders

6:13 pm on 19 March 2012

A fisheries economist at the University of the South Pacific says seaweed exports could become more efficient if the region could establish a processing plant.

Vina Bedesi says price flucuations, limited marketing, as well as high transport and storage costs have led to limited gains in the industry.

But she says as fish stocks decline, seaweed will be a good option for rural aqua culture farmers because it is easily grown, harvested and dried.

She says processing the dried eucheuma seaweed would add value before it is exported to Asia for use as a food stabiliser and pharmaceutical binding agent.

"If there is a semi processing plant and if there is enough seaweed supplied to make it operational, then I think it is going to be in fact something that rural people can look towards."

Vina Bedesi says securing stable export markets for the product would encourage rural marine farmers to grow and harvest seaweed.