Seaweed in Indonesia

Some information about Indonesian Seaweed – Professor Grevo Gerung at the Centre for Marine Sciences

Diversity Daily News in Orlando Florida
Indonesia is an archipelago located between Asia and Australia continent and Pacific and India ocean. Consequently, both oceans have affected the diversity of seaweed species. It possesses largely coral reef coastline, more than 81.000 km in length of coastal line and occupies an area of 8.5 million km2. The archipelago consists of 17,000 islands. Kalimantan is the biggest island follow by Papua, Sulawesi, Sumatera and Jawa island respectively. Many islands characterize part of coastline is a large and suitable environment for seaweeds.

Important background on seaweeds is obtained from reports of earlier expeditions, like the Siboga Expedition (1899-1900), the Danish Expedition to the Kei Island (1922), the Snellius-II Expedition (1984-1985) and the Bugenesia Programme (1980-1988). During the Siboga Expediton, Weber van Bosse reported more than 700 species of Indonesia macro algae. Recently, more than 1000 species of Indonesia seaweeds were reported including new species and new record.

Seaweed Production
In the future, global warming issues in land plant management may be possible to move to sea plant management issue since marine botany, including seaweed, becomes important plant as a blue carbon and energy sources as an end product. Since 2003, Indonesia has been decided to focus on seaweed cultivation as a main target of marine resources beside tuna fish and shrimps. About 2.1 million hectares of seawaters were prepared for seaweed cultivation and 1.8 million tons of wet seaweeds were harvested in 2008.

To support the fisheries culture programs, including seaweeds as a main program, the Ministry of Marine affairs and Fisheries has formulated the Indonesia Vision as the largest producer of fisheries and marine products in 2015. For this, the Ministry of Marine and Fisheries has established the production program of 2014 as much as 10 million tons of wet weight in which it could be attained based on significant increase in seaweed production data from year to year.

In period of 2002 – 2007, the production of seaweeds increased about 48.4 percent per year, from 278 thousand tons in 2002 to 1.73 million tons in 2007, whereas its values increased about 91.3 percent. Main provincial seaweed production carried out by South Sulawesi and East Nusa Tenggara showed that each production reached 36.5 percent and 29.2 percent, respectively, of the national seaweed production from aquaculture. It was predicted to rise to 2.672 million tons wet weight in 2010, then 3.504 million tons in 2011 and 5.100 million tons in 2012. The seaweed production will continuously be raised to 7.5 million tons in 2013 and to the target of 10 million tons wet weight in 2014.

To reach the target, enormously serious attention should be taken by considering various aspects relating with efforts to increase the production. The potency of mariculture area, regarding species diversity, human resources and the geographic position of Indonesia are four potencies possessed by Indonesia to be able to raise the seaweed production which important for seaweed issue as blue carbon Kappaphycus, Eucheuma and Gracilaria is the target species generally cultivated in Indonesia. Gelidium is one of Indonesia agarophytes harvested from natural population along the south coast of Indonesia. All species can growth in both ocean but different size and growth rate. Recently seaweed industry can be replacing wood paper with seaweed paper containing red algal pulp and also produce ethanol. Seaweeds have much faster growth-rates than forest tree. The idea was to set up algae farms covering thousands of square kilometers from the coastline to the open ocean.

Trial was beginning from four new cultivation species, Gelidium sp, Pterocladia capillacea sp, Porphyroglossum sp, and Ptilophora sp. All species have become economically important seaweeds as sources of raw material for the extraction of agar and ethanol and the thallus consists of much fiber for pulp. However, cultivation technology is necessary to in increase their growth rates.

Various solutions to the problem of against global warming have been proposed. Seaweeds are not only as a marine resource that enables to contribute to the increase in coastal community economy and national revenue through exports, but also provide large working opportunities people in developing countries either as cultivars or labors in industrial processing. The ability of seaweed as CO2 sink also puts the seaweed as an important marine resource in global warming issues.

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