Kappaphycus alvarezii

  • 16 Mar 2023

A report released on March 16, 2023, has revealed that the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park, situated in Ramanathapuram, Tamil Nadu, is currently experiencing a concerning coral breach due to the invasive seaweed species Kappaphycus alvarezii.

  • 20 years ago, the intentional introduction of Kappaphycus alvarezii for commercial cultivation took place in Ramanathapuram, Tamil Nadu.
  • Currently, 750 farmers in 18 villages of Ramanathapuram engage in seaweed farming, primarily Kappaphycus.
  • Kappaphycus grows rapidly and seeks out live corals to thrive on, unlike native seaweeds that typically grow on dead corals.
  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed Kappaphycus as one of the world's 100 most invasive species.
  • The Indian government has allocated INR 600 crore to increase seaweed production to 11.85 million tonnes by 2025, which could exacerbate the invasive seaweed problem in the Gulf of Mannar.
  • The government's plan to set up a seaweed park in Tamil Nadu could lead to further spread of Kappaphycus.