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Technique found to revive threatened native algae

2017/11/10 19:41:28

Photo courtesy of Agriculture Department, New Taipei City Government

Taipei, Nov. 10 (CNA) There is hope of recovery for Grateloupia sparsa, an algae native to Taiwan's northeastern coast that is under threat due to global warming, according to a professor involved in efforts to save the seaweed-like plant.

Lee Meng-chou (李孟洲), an assistant professor at National Taiwan Ocean University (NTOU), said a project undertaken by the university and the New Taipei agriculture department has developed a joint farming technique that successfully cultivates the algae.

Grateloupia sparsa is native to Mao'Ao Bay along Taiwan's northeastern coast, Lee said, but production of the algae has been on the decline due to global warming and overharvesting.

To reverse the trend, the algae has been collected from Mao'Ao Bay and cultivated in laboratories before being placed in Taiwanese abalone pools in Gongliao, creating an artificial breeding process, Lee said.

He said, in the future the algae can be likewise bred in Mao'Ao Bay along with fishes, shrimp and clams to add to the area being a demonstration area for fisheries cultivation.

The algae, which has a high economic value because of its common use in the local diet, grows on stones and boulders along low-tide lines, according to the New Taipei agriculture department.

Fishermen collect the algae between the months of March and May when its growth has reached maturity at six to 10 centimeters and sell it to seafood processors to convert into packaged ingredients for seaweed noodles.

(By Wang Hung-kuo and William Yen)