Towards a European seaweed industry

Seaweed forms the basis for a promising blue-green economy; local, sustainable, healthy and new opportunity for the European economy. It offers an extraordinary offshore and onshore opportunity and is applicable to a wide variety of categories such as tasty food, renewable resources and important ecosystem services.

The North Sea Farm Foundation is a non-profit organisation aimed at realising a sustainable seaweed industry in the Netherlands and surrounding EU countries. The growing global population and synchronic demand for food challenges us to transit from animal proteins to plant based proteins and to change where we source our food. The urgency for this transition has caused a trend with a growing number of consumers that wishes to eat healthy and sustainably. Seaweed fits perfectly in this new demand as it does not require farmland, fresh water or fertilizer. It also takes up nutrients that would otherwise disappear into the oceans which makes it an important link in developing a circular economy. Seaweed converts the greenhouse gas CO2 into biomass and oxygen which helps counteract oceanic acidification and climate change. The seaweed farms also create excellent shelters and nurseries for juvenile fish, shellfish and crustaceans. Moreover, seaweed farms can be engineered to share space with wind farms, fisheries and shellfish cultivation. Cultivation of seaweed is feasible in salty marshes, near coastal areas and offshore areas. The seaweed industry has the potential to become a new blue-green economy and Europe has an excellent position to become a high-tech frontrunner.