Sustainable Seaweed Farming at Dive Academy Fiji

Sustainable Seaweed Farming at Dive Academy Fiji

In a bid to bolster Fiji’s economic resilience while embracing environmentally friendly practices, Dive Academy Fiji has joined forces with the Ministry of Fisheries in a groundbreaking seaweed farming initiative.

Amidst the uncertainties brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, Jone Waitaiti, co-founder of Dive Academy Fiji, sought ways to mitigate risks associated with the tourism sector’s fluctuations. Out of this need for resilience, Fiji Sea Salt was born, offering a variety of flavors, including one infused with seaweed for its natural iodine content. Recognizing the broader potential of seaweed farming, Mr. Waitaiti embarked on a collaborative venture with the Ministry of Fisheries, aligning with their economic oceanic plans.

The project found its home in the Dakuniba-Waikava area of the Caukadrove District, where the shallow waters along the inner reef provided optimal conditions for seaweed cultivation. Approval from the Mabuca Clan ensured the use of this site, which marked a significant step towards sustainable economic development.

Innovatively, Dive Academy Fiji opted for sustainable metal tubing instead of traditional mangrove posts, ensuring stability against waves and wind while preserving mangrove ecosystems. Despite facing challenges such as rising water temperatures and natural disasters like the mini-tsunami triggered by a volcanic eruption in Tonga in January 2021, the metal infrastructure demonstrated resilience, withstanding the tests of time.

The project not only created job opportunities and income during economically challenging times but also contributed to environmental conservation efforts. Seaweed cultivation acts as a natural filter, absorbing excess nutrients and providing habitat for marine life, thereby aiding in marine ecosystem restoration.

Looking forward, the project aims to expand its farm to nearly 10,000 Lumi seedlings by 2024, generating additional employment opportunities and offering a sustainable livelihood option. With its versatile applications in various industries, including fertilizers, cosmetics, and dietary supplements, seaweed farming presents a promising avenue for economic growth and environmental stewardship in Fiji.

This collaborative initiative underscores the Ministry of Fisheries’ pivotal role in spearheading innovative projects that promote sustainable development and ensure food security for future generations.