“The seaweed industry in the UK has the potential to thrive and support a range of businesses. Farming of seaweed could contribute towards different ecosystem services.”
Ocean Film Awards 2022: Help Our Kelp
Saturday sees the return of the annual Sidmouth SeaFest:
And this year’s theme at the SeaFest is ‘kelp’:
The VGS news pages have also been looking at this recently:
The government’s own marine science blog has also been looking at seaweed:
A history of production and a renewed interest
Posted by: Elisa Capuzza, Posted on: 5 May 2022
In the UK, seaweeds have been used for centuries as a food, feed, and soil enricher, playing an important role, particularly for island communities. Around 600 species of seaweed can be found along the UK shore, with brown seaweed, such as kelp and wracks, representing the most abundant seaweed type. However, the size of the seaweed industry and the scale of production in the UK have been fluctuating with peaks and troughs throughout the centuries.
For example, during the peak production of the 17th-18th centuries, brown seaweeds were burned to produce soda ash, used in glass and soap production and for bleaching linen. Kelp kilns and kelp houses are still visible today, reminders of the thousands of tons of seaweed that were processed annually.
A growing number of seaweed-businesses and products
Brown seaweed such as kelp and wrack species, e.g. Fucus and Saccharina, and red seaweed such as dulse (Palmaria palmata) and laver (Porphyra spp.) are other important species produced or used by UK businesses.
Future perspectives and challenges for the UK seaweed industry
The seaweed industry in the UK has the potential to thrive and support a range of businesses. Farming of seaweed could contribute towards different ecosystem services, such food provisioning and regulating services. However, for the industry to grow and realise this vision, several knowledge gaps and challenges remain and need to be addressed.
And there’s been a lot of interest in the issues of late:
From Washington state:
From the Seaweed Academy in Oban and the Cornish Seaweed Company:
From the pioneering seaweed farm SeaGrown in Scarborough:
And from the University of Plymouth – where they’ve just won a film prize: