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A Review on Seaweed Farming in Western Indian Ocean: Benefits and Challenges
  • Deodata Mtenga
The University of Dodoma College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

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Deodata Mtenga
The University of Dodoma
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Seaweed farming in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) is among the income-generating activities; apart from seaweeds being primary producers, they are foundation species important for marine ecosystem capable of modifying their surrounding abiotic and biotic environments. The WIO coast provides natural and necessary environments for seaweeds farming. In this review article seaweed farming in WIO was investigated; its contribution to provision of ecosystem services; medicinal and nutritional value; role of women; challenges and the wellbeing of farmers and the whole ecosystem. It was observed that among the challenges facing seaweed farmers include lack of modernized farming tools hence farmers use low depth areas leading to attack by diseases, death of seaweed, low yields, and income. Farmers has been reported to be affected by diseases which may be contributed by inadequate of use of protective gears, indicating the need for knowledge on personal protection. This may be contributed by lack of knowledge which leads to farmers participation without using protective equipment leading to contamination from toxic chemical compounds from seaweed, epiphytic bacteria or harmful algal bloom and absorbed heavy metals from seawater as a result of long-term exposure. Farming practices such as uprooting of seaweeds during farm preparation have been observed to cause degradation and decrease fish population. Therefore, there is the need for use of modern technologies; supervision of these activities by professionals in the field, and provision of knowledge to farmers for the sustainability of WIO marine ecosystem.