An innovative, new factory is today nearing completion on Praslin. This project is the brainchild of Benjamin Port Louis who is in his final year at James Cook University in Townsville in Australia. With the support of his father, Bernard Port Louis, he is constructing a new Seaweed harvesting business on Eve Island, Praslin, Seychelles.
They will be collecting washed up seaweed from the beaches surrounding the Inner islands, and processing it to extract the organic matter in liquid form. This seaweed liquid will be sold to agricultural farmers as fertiliser, and it is believed that it will increase crop yield by 25%. The factory is expected to produce up to 8000 litres of seaweed liquid per day, which will make it one of the largest producers of seaweed liquid in the world.
The promoters say that there will be no waste. While the liquid is extracted, the solid leftovers will be grounded to powder to produce soil conditioner. This promising endeavour has been endorsed by CSIRO, a leading establishment of research in Australia.
We spoke with the owner of the factory, Mr Bernard Port Louis who stated, “I am proud to say that Seaweed Seychelles Pty Ltd is 100 % Seychellois owned. Even our contractor, Mr. Barry Souffe was chosen to construct the factory”. Mr Port Louis went on to say that, “We believe in sustainable development for our islands and so decided to develop the factory accordingly. We installed a solar hot water system that can produce 4000 litres of hot water per day and we have also installed a 12 kilowatts photovoltaic Solar system to produce the electricity for the running of the factory.”
This establishment has been a long-awaited endeavour for the tourism Industry on Praslin. The accumulation of seaweed on some of the beaches has become a serious issue, posing a great challenge for hoteliers who have been trying to market Seychelles as having white sandy beaches, and crystal clear waters. This selling tool has been much to the disappointment of several visitors who experience smelly, seaweed-filled beaches throughout the South-East monsoon months in Seychelles. Therefore, many of the hoteliers on Praslin have described the seaweed factory as a blessing in disguise, and have promised to give the endeavour their full support. Mr. Alain Ah-Thion has been appointed the person who will be coordinating the collection of seaweed from the beaches of Praslin.