What is this project all about?
We have developed an innovative concept that enables the
integrative cultivation of algae and sponges in a vertical sea
farm. The algae contain valuable nutrients so that their
consumption counteracts local malnutrition. The sponges are a
lucrative export product. On the world market, unit prices of up to
25 euros per sponge can be achieved. This creates a potential
source of income for fishermen whose declining harvests are no
longer even sufficient to subsist. At the same time, the reef is
cultivated for recreational purposes, as up to one ton of water is
filtered per kilogram of sponge.
Our algae, the Caulerpa Lentilifera, converts three times more CO2 into oxygen than conventional crops. It also counteracts eutrophication by absorbing excess nutrients in the water, one of the main causes of coral death.
What is the project goal and who is the project for?
After we created a working prototype on our first two-month trip earlier this year, we will use our second trip to implement our pilot project. This means building up several sea farms on a larger scale together with the local population.
In addition, we want to acquire new farmers who want to implement our system and thus make our project grow.
We also want to ensure that the algae are included in the daily food plan by developing tasty recipes with the Madagascans and making the advantages of algae understandable.
A distribution channel for the sponges is to be established to enable local and worldwide sales.
We are addressing fishermen in south-western Madagascar whose livelihoods are threatened by overfishing. Our project location is the small village Ifaty in the Toliara region, one of the poorest in the country.
Due to shrinking fish stocks, the diet of the inhabitants consists mainly of low-nutrient rice, which leads to deficiency symptoms, especially among children.
Why would you support this project?
The first algae have already been harvested from our prototype. This shows the functionality of our structure with the selected algae and sponge types at the project site.
Simple, affordable, scalable
Our ocean farming concept is simple and therefore easy to implement. It is made of cheap and easy to procure materials. An entire farm costs only 100 euros.
Thanks to our modular concept, the farms can be expanded as required.
Sustainable development aid
The Madagascans will be introduced to the principle of ocean farming and trained to farm independently. This will give them a new livelihood that promises long-term profitability and autonomy.
How will we use the money if the project is successfully funded?
Our second trip to the Toliara region is scheduled for October 2018. The pilot project is to be launched during this trip. We need your donation to cover our project costs:
Travel expenses: 700 euros per person
Building a boat: 400 euros
Material costs: 100 euros per farm
Education (organization of workshops, etc.): 200 euros
Risk cover: 100 euros
Our project is divided into two phases:
The first team of two persons will fly to Toliara in October,
build our own boat, create 4 ocean farms and will start our
Therefore our funding goal for the first phase is 2500 euros.
After a month, the second team of three students will take over
the project in order to establish at least 4 more ocean farms and
to pursue our education campaign. We also need the additional time
to make our project grow in a stable way.
Thus, our second funding goal is also at 2500 euros.
Who are the people behind the project?
We at ex aqua are a team of 11 Aachen students from
various disciplines who work with passion to improve the world on a
small scale. With our know-how from business administration,
biology and engineering, we are interdisciplinary in order to
tackle this task.
We are supported by our umbrella organisation Enactus Aachen e.V. and our numerous partners, including the logistics group CHEP as our business advisor and Reef Doctor, an established NGO at the project site in Madagascar.