The Australian government sponsored project provided a platform for research and pilot schemes to streamline and expand the industry.
And this has seen trial phases of seaweeds in the three countries.
This seaweed project review meeting has for the first time brought together regional communities to seek a uniform approach in the growing and harvesting of seaweed and expose new ways they can be used in.
“Standardise processes for growing the seaweed and harvesting them and perhaps uncovering some new ideas people haven’t really thought in using seaweeds for. So can we actually start eating seaweed to make us healthier can we make seaweeds compost to make agricultural implications. While we work on fisheries we also looking to land as well and looking at those link from water to land in maximizing food security,” said Dr Nicholas Paul from the University of Sunshine Coast.
The 4year project has rendered an ideal opportunity for the project team and partners to support the process of promoting commercial seaweeds.
“We had 3 objectives as part of the project and the first one was the red seaweed kappaphycus which is a lot of interest here in Fiji interns of farming and its something that is appropriate and can be done at this scale in the outer islands. The work that we’ll be presenting today was really trying to capture which sights and areas are the best for producing seaweeds. And what we are able to show is that a lot of the sights are quite good for producing seaweed and the Fisheries are actually working now to scale that back up after the damage done recently.”
The project has conducted a diverse range of research towards development in seaweed production. All with the aim of expanding opportunities available in the seaweed industry.
“We’ve been working on two of the important commercial seaweeds that have been produced the kappaphycus common name cotton eye which people grow around the world to use in commodity markets as well as some of the edible seaweeds like Nama here in Fiji or Limufafa in Samoa.”
With seaweed produced for food and as industrial products around the Pacific, this project brings about value adding and the introduction of new applications to the seaweed industry for more resilience to both internal and external changes.