Assessment of stock and market potential of consumable seaweeds in on and very near shore waters along Karachi coast

Seaweeds Survey

Seaweeds Survey, Karachi Coast © MFF/IST


  • An assessment of the stock and market potential of consumable seaweeds along Karachi coast.
  • Training of local communities in one village of Buleji area in marketing and creation of linkages to the potential buyers in Karachi.


Very limited means of practicing alternate livelihoods have been developed in the poverty stricken coastal communities of Pakistan and there remains a dire need for them. Some traditional means are also under stress like culture of commercially important fish species and crabs. Among other options, an untapped potential rests in harvesting and marketing commercially important Ulva spp. of seaweed that grows along Karachi coast.  This will multiply the growth of the community in terms of better livelihood initiative and sustainable approaches towards the utilization of natural resources.

A serious problem faced by the fisher communities of Pakistan is the increasing load on the fisheries assets during the most recent decade. The continuous utilization of juvenile fish by the community has declined the stocks substantially. There are several reasons causing decrease in its size. The unsustainable practices have amplified with the application of unlawful/banned nets and overexploitation of the asset causing a decay of nature of the fish yields. The decrease in catch with respect to size and weight is due to the continually expanding number of anglers fishing in the area. The decrease in fish populace describes an overuse of fishery assets. The local residents’ economic condition mostly relies upon the fish catch and therefore a poor catch brings about the amplification of their hardships. The misfortune of the coastal residents is tremendous and might be computed by taking a look at the shrinkage of white collar class and exploitation of the powerless poorer ones by the brokers.

Seaweed resources along Pakistan coast have great economic potential due to their utilization in food, cosmetics and industrial uses. They also play an important role in aquaculture and fish breeding. Habitat of many sea species rely on seaweeds for their shelter and food requirements. The need to preserve and market seaweeds in Pakistan can be appreciated by realizing the importance of these precious coastal resources and their economic value.

Ulva spp. of seaweed is of high business esteem and sustainable marketing of it will provide an alternate livelihood to the local community. The proposed concept will be intervened in Buleji coastal area to fulfill the core objective by creating awareness among coastal residents and giving them choices and opportunities for alternate income generation. The project will aid in uplifting the socioeconomics of the fisher communities residing in Buleji. This will ultimately reduce their poverty and allow them to carry sustainable marketing of Ulva spp. without degradation of this natural resource.

The project is managed through a series of training and capacity building workshops and events. Our team will encourage the community to strive for a self-sustained income generation approach through sustainable management of this resource. This will be done by establishing enterprise which will help community to improve their living standards. Furthermore, community based market access groups will be identified and trained to introduce seaweed to the market while keeping their production grounds sustainable. This will provide direct benefit to the people of the under-developed and under-privileged coastal communities. 

Target beneficiaries

The task is focused on a long term goal of poverty reduction of poor coastal communities of Pakistan by introducing alternate income sources through marketing of Ulva spp. The main beneficiaries of the undertaking are the poorest groups of the selected community. They will build the capacity to secure a substantial income every month. Through the proposed practice, they will be ready to enhance their lifestyles and to avoid the excessive abuse of the surrounding valuable coastal assets. This venture will make substitute employment hotspots for local community of Buleji coast.

Besides local residents and potential buyers; fishing industry and other government agencies are targeted beneficiaries, by developing sustainable marketing strategies/practices of seaweed in the country. There are various local and international organizations that may also be benefited by project outputs including;

  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Pakistan
  • Karachi University along with other academic institutes
  • National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) Pakistan
  • World Wide Fund (WWF)for Nature – Pakistan
  • Fisheries Development Board
  • Others


  • Stock and market potential of consumable seaweeds along Karachi coast assessed.
  • Local communities in one village of Buleji area made aware and trained in marketing and linked to potential buyers in Karachi.
  • Project lessons shared.

Accomplishments and challenges


  • Market potential survey of consumable seaweeds in Karachi market has been assessed.
  • Field survey of seaweeds along the Karachi coast has been completed and an assessment report prepared.Most sites were dominated by Sargassum species. No occurrence of Ulva species in submerged habitats was found. A scientific research paper on seaweeds has been produced.
  • A brochure on seaweeds has been prepared in Urdu and English languages.
  • Based on the above findings; local communities trained and made aware of market potential of consumable seaweeds.


  • The project was due to end in December 2015, but is still on-going due to delays in its implementation.

Contributions to cross-cutting themes

The project is closely related to the climate change scenarios and their impact on seaweed growth.  It communicates to the people who live along the coastline and other stakeholders to raise their awareness about seaweed resources and how seaweed preservation and marketing may benefit them and contribute in country’s economy. Ulva spp. harvesting and marketing has an extraordinary potential to be embraced as trading work source of the region selected in this proposal but it has not yet been assessed. The point of this task is to open doors for coastal communities to exploit other means of income and make them aware about reasonable marketing practices along with establishing their links with the potential buyers.  

In order to ensure that both women and men benefit from the project and have balance contribution in project related activities, women are also encouraged to become part of decision-making by attending community based meetings. During these meetings the appropriate role of both genders will be defined/assigned according to their capabilities and willingness to participate in the project related activities.

Lessons Learned

  • Warm response was shown by local community in a training workshop conducted on “ seaweeds harvesting, processing and marketing” techniques.
  • Interest was shown by local seaweed buyers in purchasing seaweeds having edible and commercial value.
  • Submerged habitats was not found suitable for the growth of consumable seaweeds especially Ulva species along the Karachi coast.
  • Cultivation of Ulva species along the Karachi coast at suitable sites may be promoted.
  • Further scientific research on seaweeds and their sustainable use is needed.

Project Facts



Karachi Coast, Sindh, Pakistan



25th Dec 2014 to 25th Jun 2016

MFF Grant Amount

PKR 1,191,000

Co-financing Partner

Karachi University

Pakistan Fisher Fork Forum

Implementing Partner

Arjumand Z. Zaidi

Assistant Professor

NCRG, 28-Gulzar-e-Hijri, SUPARCO Rd. Karachi 75270

Tel.:021-34690765 ext 2255

Fax: 021-34644928


Related Images

  • Seaweeds Survey

Share This