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Sri Lanka: Seaweed farming offers a boost for ‘blue economy’ ambitions by Dennis Mombauer September 15,2021   |  Source: Mongabay

In its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone, Sri Lanka is home to an abundance of coastal and marine resources. And while national policies and development visions already aim toward a blue economy, much of this natural wealth is currently not being used in a sustainable way or to its full potential, experts say. “Coastal fishing communities are vulnerable,” says Ruchira Cumaranatunga, a senior professor in the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture at the University of Ruhuna. “There is a need to create or enhance alternative livelihoods in coastal areas of Sri Lanka. While helping coastal fishermen to sustain their fishery activities, they should be provided with additional sources of income. The best method for this would be to promote small- and medium-sized enterprises based on fish processing, utilization of fishery waste or trash fish, and seaweed farming. Women and school dropouts in fisher families could be involved in these SMEs.”

The benefits of seaweed

Seaweed farming in particular offers a pathway for developing the blue economy and creating sustainable livelihoods, proponents say. Globally, seaweed aquaculture is one of the fastest-growing components of food production, with 99% of production taking place in Asia. If the sector is scaled up


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Years in Support of Small Scale Fishworkers (1986 - 2018)