International webinar entrepreneurship development on “Seaweed Business by Cooperatives”

Experts from around the world gathered to develop a greater entrepreneurship among cooperatives on seaweed business.

28 January 2021 / Zoom Conference Platform

An International webinar on seaweed business was organized on 28 January 2021, collaborating with LINAC- NCDC (Laxmanrao Inamdar National Academy for Cooperative Research and Development – National Cooperative Development Corporation) and the Department of Fisheries – Government of India. The webinar was attended by more than 500 participants from the research and industry representatives from 21 countries, including Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Canada, France, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, the United States and Venezuela. Seaweeds form an important segment of the fisheries and aquaculture industry in maritime nations, contributing largely to the income and livelihood of coastal communities. Seaweeds provide several ecosystem services including the mitigation of the impacts of climate change, while providing nutritious food besides a variety of industrial and pharmacological applications.

The keynote presentation was done by Prof. Thierry Chopin, Professor of Marine Biology from Seaweed and Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture Research Laboratory, the University of New Brunswick, Canada. “Seaweeds are excellent nutrient scrubbers (especially dissolved nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon) and can also be used for habitat restoration as the cultivation does not need more arable soil and land transformation (deforestation)” said Prof. Chopin.

Several country reviews from India, Vietnam, Philippines were presented. “Adding seaweeds in skincare and beauty products is beneficial for the skin due to its rich nutrients: photo-protection, melanin inhibitor (tyrosine), and anti-aging properties (peptides)”, explained Dr. Blossom Kochhar, Chair of Blossom Kochhar Group, India. Mr. R. Govindrajan, Head R&D of Zydus Wellness Ltd., India also talked about the application of Seaweeds in the pharmaceuticals industries later. Then, Seaweed-based functional foods business models from ICAR-CIFT was presented by Dr. Suseela Mathew, Principal Scientist, Head of Division, Biochemistry & Nutrition, ICAR-Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT), Cochin, India. ICAR-CIFT has promoted Seaweed as an immune remedy against COVID-19 and the publication has recognized by World Health Organization (WHO). Ms. Kavita Nehemiah from Snap Natural & Alginate Products Pvt. Ltd., India presented the alginate manufacturing and emphasized the important of seaweed farming. Sh. Abhiram Seth, Managing Director from Aquaagri, India highlighted the benefits of seaweed farming that “the industry can give sustainable livelihood opportunity, catering to commercial requirements of food, feed, pharma, chemicals, cosmetics, bio-fuels, etc., also it is mitigation of the ill-effects of climate change.

“While shrimp-based approach leads to unsustainable aquaculture, seaweed secures sustainable aquaculture as it helps solve coastal eutrophication”, added Dr. Nguyen Van Nguyen, Deputy Director, Research Institute for Marine Fisheries, Vietnam while presenting the aspects of fisheries and aquaculture business in Vietnam. Dr. Anicia Q Hurtado from the University of the Philippines Visayas in the Philippines enlighten the participants with some science-based innovations for the sustainability of red seaweed cultivation. “Seaweed Farming for Industrial Applications: A Value Chain Approach” was presented by Dr.Yugraj Singh Yadava, Director of Bay of Bengal Programme, Inter-Governmental Organisation (BOBP-IGO). Dr. Atul Patne, IAS, Commissioner Fisheries from Government of Maharashtra also spoke about the business prospects and shared an action plan for the promotion of seaweed business in in Maharashtra. Dr. Raj Naresh Gopal, Dy. Director and Mr. Patil Nilesh Suresh, Assistant Director from NCDC, India gave the closing presentation on “Scenario of Seaweed Business in India”.

A major outcome of the webinar was the inclusion and adoption of large scale seaweed related enterprises as part of the PMSY Program in India, and also the establishment of linkages among several countries in seaweed research and business.

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