Gracilaria aquaculture is one of the fastest-growing sectors, contributing to 10.5% of the global seaweed feed-stock supply chain in 2019. It predominantly caters to food-grade agar, animal feed and non-food sector applications viz. biotechnology, biomedical and pharmaceuticals. It has witnessed a rapid expansion triggered by increased demand due to commodity trade. Biosecurity-related issues are the key factors constraining its expansion, but are seldom addressed. The global gracilarioids aquaculture is dominated by China and other Asian countries, namely the Republic of Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. This paper provides an assessment of their national biosecurity capacity, including current risk management strategies, policies and the implementation of existing regulations. It also highlights specific gaps in national policies and regulations, which can be addressed to improve their health management systems. Biosecurity management strategies, such as the provision of clear regulatory guidance, mechanisms for notifying disease and pest outbreaks, movement of live seaweed, risk assessment, stakeholder incentivisation and certification are recommended. Further, insights into the impending biosecurity measures to the emerging countries in this domain namely India and Malaysia are discussed. We suggest, implementing a uniform format of global integrated biosecurity measures across the Gracilaria aquaculture industry, but this requires organisational, operational and procedural changes, coupled with a cross-sectoral application of risk analysis protocols. Despite one of the important seaweed aquaculture taxa, an overview of Gracilaria production, the role of biosecurity policy and regulation in the sustainable development of this industry was still lacking, this is the first global effort in this direction.
- management strategies
- sustainable development