Seaweed farming surges in Lau lagoon

BY SAMIE WAIKORI

Malaita provincial fisheries office has reported surge in seaweed farming within Lau lagoon in the northeast of Malaita province.

The lagoon is first to introduce with the aquiculture seaweed farming activity in late 1990s on Malaita, however, a slow growth was experienced since then until 2017.

In an interview with Malaita provincial fisheries officer, Alick Konamalefo he said his office is delighted to see the reignition in interest in seaweed farming.

“The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources introduced seaweed farming at Hotedea on Manaoba island in Lau lagoon toward late 1990.

“Since then, it grew in a slow pace due to many factors such as market and even the ethnic tension, however, people didn’t let go of it.

“Until 2017, the farming regained momentum and expanded to other areas such as Ata in the northeast and Suava in the northwest of the lagoon,” he said.

Konamalefo said Malaita provincial fisheries office through Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resource is grateful to see the growth of seaweed farming within area and encourages them on this livelihood activity.

He said seaweed farming in Lau lagoon mainly done by women and children as well as men and it becomes a generating income to their families.

“At the moment JQY is buying $4 per kilogram of dry seaweed from the farmers. JQY is one of the stakeholders have supported farmers in Lau on the activity.

“JQY has supported farmers with equipment such as ropes and others that helped in the farming activity. Now, they are buying the seaweed from the farmers,” Konamalefo said. 

He said being the leading agent in the province, the provincial fisheries office is supportive of the activity under its aquiculture fisheries livelihood program.

Konamalefo said these programs include seaweed farming, tilapia farming and Fishing Aggregate Device (FAD) that they have been promoting in the province.

He said the idea behind this is to create alternative fisheries activities for people to shift from over harvesting reefs and mangrove and even gain income from the activities.

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