Losing interest in seaweed farming due to climate change

[Fiji] The impact of climate change has, to some extent, affected seaweed farming in the North resulting in farmers losing interest in the trade.

Another contributing factor the Fisheries Department has identified is the economic effect when compared to what villagers earn through yaqona and dalo farming.

Senior Fisheries officer North Jovesa Naceva said buyers bought seaweed at $1 a kilogram and this was one reason farmers lost interest.

But while interest has dropped among existing farmers, curiosity and queries about seaweed farming continued to pour in.

“There are still some other villagers around the North who are still interested in starting seaweed farms in their areas,” Mr Naceva said. “The interest has dropped among farmers who have been in the business for over a year or two and we see that most of them have concentrated more on yaqona faming.

“We understand that this will happen because people need to survive and yaqona, selling of seafood to Chinese companies gives them high returns.”

Mr Naceva said climate change had also been blamed for the changing fortunes in seaweed farming, including things such as changing high and low tides.

“Seaweed needs to be in the sea water all the time and sometimes the low tide drags on and is out longer than the normal time,” he said.

“When the farms are exposed to the sunlight during this long period of low tide, it affects the seaweed and that is why climate change has affected seaweed farming.”

Mr Naceva said the demand from international markets for seaweed had increased.

“While the demand continues to grow, the supply from our local farmers is still not enough to meet the market demand,” he said. “Overseas markets want the seaweed in tonnage and not in kilograms, but our supply can’t meet this demand.”


View original article at: Climate impact

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