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Thursday, November 02, 2006

`Kappaphycus alverizii' is cultivated near along Tuticorin coast

Unscientific culture of exotic seaweed species, `Kappaphycus alverizii' near Tharuvaikulam, along the Tuticorin coast, as a commercial venture is affecting the growth of many indigenous seaweed species in the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve. This came to light in a survey conducted by a team of fisheries scientists, led by J. D. Jameson, head, Department of Fisheries Environment, Fisheries College and Research Institute, Tuticorin.

Institute Dean V. K. Venkataramani said the team made the assessment after studying the occurrence of `Kappaphycus alverizii' in large quantities along the coastal waters and the beaches near the Tuticorin harbour, the Hare Island and the adjacent areas.

"The study found that 20-50 kg of this exotic seaweed species was washed ashore in the beach near the Harbour alone every day, besides the load that got entwined in fishing nets. This is due to the prolific growth when it is cultured in the sea using rafts," he said.

He said the presence of exotic seaweeds would destroy the coral base as well as organic nutrients and minerals in the Gulf, which in turn would affect the livelihood of native fish.

Furthermore, exotic seaweeds could stunt the growth of other fauna, including indigenous seaweeds, which too were favoured by the marine organisms. "Hence the cultivation of this exotic species should be confined to ponds... ," Mr. Venkataramani said.

Source: The Hindu

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