Saltpans are a man made hyper saline ecosystem from which crude salt is extracted during summer. Salt making has been a traditional occupation in Coastal Goa. Saltpans in Goa get inundated by tidal waters and monsoonal runoff and are found in Pernem, Bardez, Tiswadi and Salcete talukas of Goa.

Saltpans consists of series of rectangular beds, each bed bunded on all four sides and joined to the next one through an opening in the common bund. A sluice gate in one bund of the first bed allows influx of saline water from a creek during high tides. Here the water is allowed to evaporate. As the water evaporates, it is allowed to enter into the next tank where it crystallizes. Salt crystals are sprinkled in the last tank to initiate and catalyze the crystallization process. The fresh salt is then harvested and is allowed to dry naturally forming heaps on the bunds. Salt curing in saltpans takes place during February-May and crude salt is extracted during summer. During the remaining part of the year, fish/ shrimps are raised in these fields.

The salt is used locally for domestic consumption as fertilizer, soil conditioner, termite repellent, fermenting agent for salting green mangoes in pickles, in ice plants and for curing dry fish.

From a net exporter of salt, Goa today has turned into a net importer as the traditional salt industry is now on the verge of collapse. During earlier times, salt from Goa was exported to Thailand, Burma and even African countries, while in 1855 Goa dominated Asian market as regards to the salt export. In 1964-65, 200 salt pans were operational in Goa, in 13 villages of four talukas of Pernem, Bardez, Tiswadi and Salcete, which produces around 25,000 metric tones of salt annually and by 2002, the number came down to around 16. Further, Saltpans in a stretch, from Agorwaddo in Morjim to Cavelossim in Salcete, are either non-functional or used for pisciculture related activites.

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