seaweed industry

The global seaweed industry has increased exponentially over the last 50 years. It is now valued at a staggering US$ 10 billion per annum. The biggest market for seaweed products is in phycocolloids for the agrofood, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries, but the diversity of seaweed properties and their potential uses is astounding, ranging from anticancer molecules, sterols and neutraceuticals to fertilizers, biofuels and environmental remediation. Seaweeds are also among the fastest growing and most highly productive organisms in the World and provide an efficient blue carbon pump that can play a critical role in mitigating climate change. Numerous studies have clearly identified seaweed farming as a promising future industry for the fast-growing field of the Blue Economy and as a solution for CO2 sequestration.

It is argued that the projected increased use of seaweeds for fertilizers and food would provide an efficient means of human-mediated carbon sequestration to offset projected climate change, while its use as a biofuel could provide renewable energy in a more sustainable alternative than that seen in land crops. Perhaps even more promising, tropical fleshy seaweeds thrive under projected future climate change conditions due to enhanced performance in high temperature and pCO2 conditions. This boosted productivity may represent unexpected opportunities for resilient and sustainable adaptation to climate change. As the effects of climate change increase and the Tropics expand to ever-higher latitudes, seaweed farm production targeting tropical species with high rates of productivity will naturally increase providing an automatic feedback loop with great socio-economic benefits and future environmental solutions.