Grants :: Small Grant Facilities :: Providing supplementary income to the coastal community in Northern Mannar through establishing of healthy mother plant stock of Kappaphycus alvarezii (Eucheuma cottonii) meet future demand of seedlings of seaweed farming industry in Sri Lanka
Sea weed culture site, Mannar © Kumudini Ekaratne, IUCN SL, 2015
Establish a healthy mother plant stock (10 tonnes per cycle after completing the project) year round to meet the demand of seaweed industry in Sri Lanka.
Seaweeds are marine algae (organisms that make their own food like plants but lack the specialised internal cells to transport food and water). Kappaphycus alvarezii is an alga that contains carrageenans — which are important commercially, as thickening and gelling agents used in the confectionary industry. There is a viable export market for dried seaweed of this alga, which is found in the shallow marine waters of Sri Lanka. Seaweed culture is now becoming a popular livelihood in coastal areas.
In the Mannar District, communities recovering from a three-decade long civil unrest have limited options for alternative livelihoods. This project provides support to communities to commence culture of seaweed.
• A programme to create awareness about seaweeds and seaweed farming was conducted for 21 members of the Kumilamunai Punitha Anthonyar Fishermen’s Cooperative
• Five members of this cooperative were selected as beneficiaries.
• A training programme on farming and plant stocking was held for 21 members of FCS, and another on bookkeeping was held for 20 members.
• Three farms — with each plot (15.24 m X 30.48 m) containing 30 culture lines and each with 40-46 seaweed bunches — were established.
• A cyclone and fl oods that occurred during the latter part of 2011 destroyed these three farms.
• Later, two new farms were setup and stocked with seaweed. An additional 32,000 sea cucumbers that were collected from the wild by collectors but not accepted by buyers because of their small size, were also introduced.
• An awareness programme was then conducted on sea cucumber rearing.
Five families of Kumilamunai Punitha Anthonyar Fishermen’s Cooperative Society (FCS).
• The harvest from two farms — two hundred and fifty sea cucumbers (nearly 6 kg) have been sold through the cooperative society at a rate of about 8,000 LKR (60 USD) per kilogramme.
• In late May, 2012 18 kg of seaweed at 200 LKR (1.5 USD) per kilogramme was sold as mother stock to another grower in the Puttalam area.
Although it is not possible to make any inference about the impacts of seaweed culture, there has been a marked improvement among the farmers in this community in the harvesting of cage-reared sea cucumbers. Prior to this project, sea cucumbers were caught at all stages of growth and sold to buyers. Sea cucumbers that were not accepted by buyers were thrown back into the sea, causing immense wastage on an already stretched resource. Now, the farmers know what is acceptable and when to harvest the farmed sea cucumbers.
Beneficiaries were all males.
Kumilamunai in northern Mannar, Sri Lanka
1st May 2011 to 31st Oct 2012