Image credit: Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)
Review: SPC and Abdel Rahman El Gamal (Founder of the website)
The first grow-out trial of seaweed farming in Solomon Islands was undertaken between 1988 and 1991 whereas Eucheuma sp. was grown off-bottom or at the fixed-depth method. The grazing pressure from herbivorous fish (e.g. rabbitfish) negatively affected the seaweed production in some sites. The red seaweed, Eucheuma sp. was introduced into Solomon Islands for the first time in 1988.
With the aid of a national seaweed project, a noticeable expansion in seaweed farming took place in several provinces in Solomon Islands resulting in preparing about 20 tons of dried seaweed for export in 2003. Through the national seaweed project, farmers were trained as well as the seaweed seed was distributed to beneficiaries from given communities such as Rarumana community and Waghena community. In general, the seaweed farming is oriented to export as no local markets do exist for the product.
The seaweed species farmed in Solomon Islands can be used for toothpaste, flavored-milk drink and pet food.
The seaweed farming in Solomon Islands is considered a growing industry based on the increasing number of farming sites as well as the active seaweed farmers who were estimated to be 250-300 farmers in 2011. The socio-economic benefits generated by seaweed farming are considered the key outcome of this activity.
The fluctuations in seaweed production in the past decade has been attributed to the low market prices, presence of fungal diseases and the tsunami of 2007 which destroyed key seaweed farms.
Note: the inserted photo shows the harvesting of seaweed in Rarumana (Solomon Islands)