Why is it in News?
Experts are of the opinion that India shall focus on mariculture, the same way as that it focuses on agriculture as due to increase in population there is a need to focus on other food sources as the land available for crops will reduce. Therefore, the immediate need is to try and improve the efficiency of food production.
What is Mariculture?
- Mariculture is a specialized branch of aquaculture involving the cultivation of marine organisms for food and other products in the open ocean, an enclosed section of the ocean, or in tanks, ponds or raceways which are filled with seawater.
- Production of seaweeds, oysters, shrimps, prawns etc. falls under the ambit of mariculture.
Marine macroalgae or seaweeds are plant-like organisms that generally live attached to rock or other hard substrata in coastal areas.
These seaweeds have very high medicinal value and are eaten in most parts of the world like-Philippines, Japan, China, Indonesia etc. as these seaweeds have low calorific value and are rich in calcium, zinc, omega 3, omega 6 etc.
How are Seaweeds different from Sea Grass?
- Sea grass looks like grass but is marine flowering plant having well developed root system. They generally grow in shallow waters with sandy/ muddy bottoms. Sea cow/ Dugong depend on sea grass for food.
- Seaweeds on the other hand are not plants but are usually protists i.e. they attach themselves to some substrate like- rock, corals etc.