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BIMP-EAGA ASEAN Coral Triangle
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Global sources of tropical seaweeds and seaweed products
 
Most current tropical seaweed production was used as raw material for making the red algal galactan (RAG) hydrocolloids known as carrageenan and agar. The most commonly cultivated red algal galactan seaweeds (RAGS) were of the genera Kappaphycus (cottonii of the trade); Eucheuma (spinosum of the trade) and Gracilaria. These were, respectively, sources of kappa-carrageenan, iota-carrageenan and agar.

Gracilaria
is a genus with many species and these are distributed widely throughout both tropical and temperate seashores. Official data concerning Gracilaria production were sparse. Commercial trading patterns suggested that most production of cultivated Gracilaria was from Indonesia and China where it was mostly used for production of domestically consumed agar. Chile was also a major Gracilaria producer.

Cultivation of Kappaphycus and/or Eucheuma was known to have been attempted or successfully undertaken in at least 29 countries. An analysis of official import data from 2002-2006 for 34 countries active in the seaweed and hydrocolloid trades showed that 19 were sources of seaweed and seaweed products. The Coral Triangle accounted for almost 86% of volume and 85% of value of tropical seaplant production. Official export data from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines showed that import data from the basket of countries included in the study accounted for 82% of reported export volume and 67% of reported export value from 2002-2006.

The period 2000-2006 was characterized by tight supplies of Kappaphycus but adequate supplies of Eucheuma and Gracilaria. Estimates of seaweed production in support of exports from the Coral Triangle indicated that by 2007 Indonesia production was about 110,000 dry tons and 2007 Philippine production was about 70,000 dry tons. Most of this was Kappaphycus.
 
Tropical countries known to have been sources of seaweed and seaweed hydrocolloids from 2002-2006. Note that Fiji was known to have exported some Kappaphycus during the reporting period but that did not show up in these statistics. Also India was known to have exported several hundred tons of Kappaphycus since 2003 but these shipments were lumped with other products in the customs data so exact quantities were not known.
 
 
 
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SEAPlant.net SEAPlant.net Monograph No. HB2D 1108 V1 GTZ.
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