In the fight against climate change, seaweed could be a surprising — but vital — weapon
Like many coastal communities around the world, people living by the sea in the United Kingdom have harvested and consumed seaweed for centuries.
In Wales, Welsh laverbread — made from cooking a type of seaweed called laver — is a culinary delicacy so revered that it enjoys Protected Designation of Origin status.
Seaweed’s uses do not end at the dinner table, either: Today, it’s found in everything from cosmetics and animal feed to gardening products and packaging.
With concerns about the environment, food security and climate change mounting, this wet, edible treasure of the sea — of which there are many varieties and colors — could have a major role to play in the sustainable future of our planet, and the U.K. wants in on the act.
Toward the end of April, a project dubbed the U.K.’s “first dedicated seaweed industry facility” celebrated its official opening, with those involved hoping it will help kickstart the commercialization of a sector that’s well established in other parts of the world.
The Seaweed Academy, as it’s known, is located near the Scottish town of Oban. Funding of £407,000 (around $495,300) for the project has been provided by the U.K. government.
It will be run by the Scottish Association for Marine Science in partnership with its trading subsidiary SAMS Enterprise and educational institution UHI Argyll.
According to a statement from SAMS, one of the academy’s goals centers around stimulating “the growth of UK seaweed aquaculture.” On top of this, the project will look to explore “high-value markets” and use research to boost the worldwide competitiveness of U.K. products.
Rhianna Rees is a seaweed researcher and Seaweed Academy coordinator at SAMS Enterprise. In a recent interview with CNBC, she provided an insight into the type of jobs that went on at a seaweed farm.
Seaweed is found in everything from food and cosmetics to gardening products and packaging.
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