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Seaweed Farming in India: India’s First Seaweed Park in Tamil Nadu

 

Multi purpose seaweed wark UPSC: Relevance

  • GS 3: Transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

 

Seaweed farming in India: Context

  • Union Ministry of Fisheries said for the first time in the country that a seaweed park will be set up in Tamil Nadu to improve the livelihood of fishermen.

 

Tamil Nadu seaweed park: Key points

  • The government has also said that work will commence soon after the Tamil Nadu government allotted land for the facility.
  • The State Government has also been requested to set aside space for a Special Economic Zone for seaweed farming and the work will commence after the State Government selects the site.
  • A project to raise quality fish fry in the sea would be implemented under the Prime Minister’s Matsya Sampada Yojana to increase fish stocks in Rameswaram and Mandapam areas.
  • About Rs. 20,000 crore is to be invested in Tamil Nadu for fisheries projects such as cold storage, to set up a fish processing plant and deep-sea aquaculture.
  • Rs 1,500 would be provided as a relief assistance on behalf of the Central Government during the fishing ban period and a group insurance scheme would be implemented for fishermen.

 

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What is seaweed park?

  • Budget 2021 had proposed a multi-purpose seaweed park to be set up in Tamil Nadu as part of promoting seaweed cultivation.

 

What is seaweed?

  • Seaweed is the common name to marine plants and algae that grow in the ocean as well as in rivers, lakes, and other water bodies.
  • Some seaweeds are microscopic, such as the phytoplankton that live suspended in the water column and provide the base for most marine food chains.
  • Some seaweeds are enormous, such as giant kelp that grow in abundant “forests” and tower like underwater redwoods from their roots at the bottom of the sea.
  • Seaweed is a misnomer because a weed is a plant that spreads very fast, and can harm the habitat where it takes hold. Seaweed, however, provide multiple benefits.

 

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Seaweed species in India

  • The commercially exploited seaweed species in India majorly includes Kappaphycus alvarezii, Gracilaria edulis, Gelidiella acerosa, Sargassum spp. and Turbinaria spp.

 

Seaweed benefits

  • For nutrition: Seaweed is a source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and can be tasty.
  • For medicinal purpose: Many seaweeds contain anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial agents. Their known medicinal effects have been legion for thousands of years.
  • For cancer-fighting: Certain seaweeds possess powerful cancer-fighting agents that researchers hope will eventually prove effective in the treatment of malignant tumors and leukemia in people.
  • For economic growth: Seaweeds have also contributed to economic growth. Among their many uses in manufacturing, they are effective binding agents (emulsifiers) in such commercial goods as toothpaste and fruit jelly, and popular softeners (emollients) in organic cosmetics and skin-care products.

 

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