Coral Reefs

Why in News?

  • The dead coral reefs were recently observed near Kurusadai (Tamil Nadu), one of the 21 uninhabited islands forming the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park.


  • The primary reason behind this loss is Kappaphycus alvarezii, a seaweed species deliberately introduced for commercial cultivation some two decades ago
  • Seaweed is the name given to the many species of marine algae and plants that grow in water bodies such as rivers, seas and oceans.
  • They vary in size, from microscopic to large underwater forests.
  • Seaweed is found on the shores across the world, but is more commonly a staple in Asian countries.
  • Seaweed has numerous benefits, including being a source of nutrition, containing anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial agents for medicinal purposes
  • Contributing to economic growth through its use in manufacturing, acting as a bioindicator by absorbing excess nutrients and balancing out ecosystems.
  • Trapping excess iron and heavy metals and supplying oxygen and nutrients to other marine life forms.
  • India cultivated around 34,000 tonnes of seaweed, and the Centre earmarked Rs 600 crore to increase seaweed production to 11.85 million tonnes by 2025.
  • Currently, about 750 farmers are engaged in seaweed farming, primarily Kappaphycus, in 18 villages of Ramanathapuram, Tamil Nadu and it is also likely to be cultivated in Tamil Nadu’s proposed seaweed park.
  • National research institutes and companies are for increased cultivation of Kappaphycus to improve livelihoods, profits and to reduce India’s import of kappa-carrageenan.







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