The Bio Economic Seaweed Model (BESeM) for modelling tropical seaweed cultivation – experimentation and modelling

Oort, P.A.J. van; Rukminasari, N.; Latama, G.; Verhagen, A.; Werf, A.K. van der


The Bio Economic Seaweed Model (BESeM) is a model designed for modelling tropical seaweed cultivation. BESeM can simulate the common tropical seaweed cultivation system with multiple harvests per year, clonal reproduction and labour intensive harvesting and replanting activities. Biomass growth is modelled as a sigmoid, with growth being initially exponentially and eventually flattening off towards a maximum weight per plant or per square meter (wf,max). To estimate the latter, longer duration experiments than normal are needed – in the order of 100 days rather than 45 days. Drying (on platforms on the beach) is simulated as well as increase in harvested chemical concentration over time since planting, for harvested chemicals such as agar extracted from Gracilaria or carrageenan extracted from Kappaphycus or Euchema. BESeM has a limited number of parameters which makes it easily amenable to new sites and species. An experiment is presented for a site in Indonesia in which Gracilaria was monitored for 120 days in 6 nearby sites and from which BESeM model parameters were estimated. A simulation example is presented which illustrates how BESeM can be used to find the optimum combination of replanting weight and harvest cycle length (in days) for maximising gross and net farm income.