GIS – 04 November 2013: An open day to develop synergies between fishers and researchers to facilitate the development of a seaweed industry in Mauritius and Rodrigues is being held today in Réduit. The Open Day aims at creating awareness among fisher groups and coastal communities on the ongoing Mauritius Research Council (MRC) funded seaweed value-addition projects being undertaken by the Agricultural Research and Extension Unit (AREU) and the University of Mauritius (UOM).
At the launching of the Open Day at the Uom, Réduit, this morning, the Minister of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology, Dr Rajeshwar Jeetah, spoke of the 2.3 millions km2 of exclusive economic zone of Mauritius and urged participants to seize the opportunity provided by institutions like the MRC to engage in the Ocean State Economy, which the Government is striving to expand. He called on fishers and researchers to work together, sharing their respective knowledge, expertise and experiences to forge the way ahead for a seaweed industry in Mauritius.
For his part, the Executive Director of MRC, Dr A. Suddhoo, pointed out that to date fifty fishers are involved in the project for the development of a seaweed industry in Mauritius and Rodrigues. To further enhance the development of the industry, he highlighted the need to disseminate research findings to local communities. This, he said, will encourage the development of economically and technically viable products, thereby creating jobs and generating wealth.
The Open Day targeted people from the regions of Vieux Grand Port, Grande Rivière Sud Est and Grand Sable who are involved or are interested in seaweed farming and processing. During the Open Day, participants will meet and interact with the researchers of UoM, AREU and MRC as well as visit the laboratories for demonstration on the different potential uses of seaweeds.
The MRC has invested over the last five years in researching avenues, leading to collaborative endeavours with local institutions such as the UoM, the Albion Fisheries Research Centre, and the AREU for the development of a seaweed industry based on value added transformation of seaweed for human consumption, cosmetic applications and medical and pharmaceutical uses. The MRC is also working with foreign institutions namely the Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CMCRI) of India, le Centre d’Étude et de Valorisation des Algues (CEVA) of France and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in this project. Pilot sea farms for the cultivation of seaweed have been set up in Rodrigues and in Albion.
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