Monday, December 14, 2009

seaweed farming

Topical conversations suggest that alternatives to overfishing the world's oceans, seas and lakes with global markets such as seaweed farms are a great idea. In Indonesia this is reality some island communities have been introduced to for some years, but many people wonder how beneficial they really are to families living in coastal environments. I spent some time following a typical seaweed farming family in south Bali, on Lembongan island. Seemed like all had a role to play in the processing of the seaweed. Gathering, sorting, drying and bagging and no one was fishing except on a subsistance basis. Most homes were slightly rustic structures you would typically associate with island dwelling and there was a lot of rubbish floating about. However, in some areas of the village I saw new concrete homes with clean tiles and rendered patios. Can't help but think there were some bigger fish in the seaweed farms than others. A few weeks would probably give fairer insight than an afternoon but I had been told 'ecotourism' has a hand in shaping lives here, especially so close to Bali's cosmetic trade. Talking to a visiting reef researcher, Greg pointed out that seaweed farms often encroach delicate coral gardens and disrupt juvenile fish habitats...etc. etc. So in a coconut shell - appears its all a bit swings and roundabouts but with growing numbers of mouths to feed/ bodies to cosmeticate (?), undoubtedly there will be more pressure on marine environments like this in the future.

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