Yesterday we took you out to the Turneffe Atoll where we showed you the sparkling seas and the lush greenery that TASA is working hard to sustain. We also told you that conservation isn't their only task - they're also working to ensure that local fishers and tourism stakeholders maintain their livelihoods in the era of depleted fish stocks.

And one of their latest projects is seaweed farming - a venture that they hope can provide a sustainable means of revenue for fishers, especially during the off seasons for marine life. And, if all goes well, it can become a new industry for the country.

Courtney Menzies visited the seaweed farm over the weekend, and has this story.

Not far off the coast of Calabash Caye, which sits in the center of the Turneffe Atoll, lies an underwater farm, blooming with seaweed, and brimming with potential for a sustainable livelihood.

This seaweed farm was conceived to relieve the pressure that overfishing has on marine life like lobsters and conch. But now TASA has plans to turn it into an entire industry.

Valdimar Andrade, Executive Director, TASA
"Generally, what we're looking for to work with the fishers is how can they diversify their business. Currently, their business is made up of conch, lobster, and fin fish so depending on how the season is open but you know lobster is a high end products, you have gotten up to $34 per pound for lobster. Then conch is on the other scope, you've gotten up to maybe $12 or $16 per pound depending on which season you were looking at and so seaweed has to be able to yield within that range to be able to do that."

"That particular farm that you saw is actually the seed stock farm so we manage that and from there fishers get seed stock to seed their seaweed farm. The technical methodology requires them to harvest 75% and leave 25% behind that 25% allows them to continue to grow seaweed."

"Currently in Turneffe, we have been working with like a dozen fishers that we are trying to transition to that. In the south, there are quite a bit of fishers and people who have developed products out of seaweed, Ikooma is one of them and we have other people who are doing other things but this is a work in progress, you're trying to build the different types of industry and one of the things we're trying to ensure that happens is that we try to look at how can we build value added rather than shipping out the raw product."

But it's not just cosmetics - seaweed can also play a part in food security for the country.

Valdimar Andrade, Executive Director, TASA
"Seaweed can be infused in a lot of products that could be, for example, in feeding programs in the schools and other things that can offset some of the costs so if we can create that market where the fishers farm this, the government buys it as a part of the feeding program, then of course you're meeting an economical need and a nutritional need for the country."

"But the super food industry has a lot of potential because you can do seaweed drinks, we have explored here with companies here to look at actually bottling it and shipping it from here."

"You can eat the seaweed just like that?"

Valdimar Andrade, Executive Director, TASA
"Yes you can eat the seaweed just like that as you all tried it, people use it in salads, normally it is dried, and the dried one is what is sold for $20 a pound."

And if this industry takes off, more fishers will be able to cash in.

Valdimar Andrade, Executive Director, TASA
"We're working to transition as many fishers as we can that the space will allow and that the market will allow as well because there's a market reality."

"We have to train them up and them so, in all of this, they are the ones that are still going to do work because you have to go out there clean the lines on a weekly basis, ensure that it is kept- but you can harvest every three months and make an amount of money on the local market now."

"For now, it is structured towards working with the fishers but that is why we have been looking at the policies and the strategies along with the fisheries department to look at a home grown industry. Again, for us as a small country, micro industries are very important because it is what drives the economy at the end of the day."

TASA has been working with fishers and the seaweed farm since 2017.

Channel 7