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Exploring Native Seaweed Farming along the West Coast of India

Partner: The Good Ocean

October 2021 - ongoing

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 Seaweed farming has huge implications for our future food, fuel, packaging and climate mitigation © Pixabay

Introduction

In an increasingly disruptive and climate uncertain world, ocean farming is becoming a game of high risk and low return. For years we have exploited our ocean for food and natural resources, to the point of systemic breakdown. But, there are still sustainable and regenerative ways in which to work with our ocean. Seaweed farming is one such instance! Seaweed is amongst the fastest growing biomass on the planet and is versatile in its uses. It produces food, minimises environmental damage, mitigates climate change through the absorption of carbon and nitrogen, and cleans up the oceans at the same time. Incredibly, farming requires zero input which means that ocean farmers don’t need to add anything into the system in order for the algae and animals to thrive.

 

With our partner, The Good Ocean, we are testing approaches to the production and harvesting of locally found seaweed species, specifically Gracilaria (a red seaweed that is economically important as an agarophyte). Our pilot project is located a stones throw-away from Gokarna, in the postcard perfect Aghanashini Estuary in Karnataka, and will run from November 2021 to April 2022.

 

Roles & Responsibilities in the Collaboration

Early Stage Investor; Project Strategy Design; Monitoring & Reporting

 

As an early-stage investor in this project, our objective at EcoNiche is to develop a strong investment case for private funding, to upscale self-sustaining ocean-based solutions to the climate crisis.

Outcomes

Based on our learnings we will develop an investment case for this self-sustaining and scalable approach to ocean farming and conservation, that has the potential to enhance the well-being of people and nature, whilst addressing climate mitigation and resilience-building.

Once our pilot season comes to an end, we  will start exploring ways in which to:

1) upscale and replicate the farms, 

2) link small and medium-scale seaweed farmers to new markets by connecting farmers, buyers, and consumers across diverse industries in ways that support thriving local farms, economies and coastal communities, and 

3) compensate seaweed farmers in fair and just ways for the climate-positive role of their farms, including carbon and nitrogen removal, as well compensation for other ecosystems services provided, such as water filtration and habitat restoration. 

(Read more about the project in Condé Nast Traveller and The Times of India)