A new report outlining future options for the Scottish seaweed industry has been welcomed by Scottish Government ministers. Sustainability of the sector is key to any future development, with harvesting of some kelp species already banned.

The global seaweed industry is estimated to be worth €8.1 billion per year, with Asia dominating the cultivated seaweed industry.

In Scotland, the review found the sector delivers an estimated Gross Value Added of £510,000 and employs around 60 people, with small, artisan style businesses leading the domestic sector.

However, projections estimate this figure could increase substantially by 2040. Popular as a cooking ingredient, seaweed is also used in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.

The mapping exercise was undertaken by the Seaweed Review Steering Group, an organisation with representatives from the fisheries, conservation, science, biotechnology and the seaweed industry sectors. The review highlights the need for comprehensive policy and robust legislation around planning and licensing of the sector to deliver environmentally sustainable development.

A news piece regarding the report’s release has said that ‘the development of a commercial-scale seaweed cultivation sector could generate over £70 million pounds for Scotland annually by 2040’.

The full report can be found on the Scottish Government website, along with a statement on the Seaweed Review.

Separate to the above Review, scientists have developed a new way to identify and reduce the impact of chemicals and diseases in global aquaculture (fish farming).

Aquaculture already provides about half of all seafood consumed by humans, and by 2050 it is expected to provide as much as 70%. In 2020 seafood consumption reached an all-time high, and sustainable aquaculture is playing a vital role in this “blue food” revolution.

In a new paper in Nature Food scientists from Cefas (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science) and the University of Exeter describe a Seafood Risk Tool to support the development of sustainable aquaculture.

The paper, published in the journal Nature Food, is entitled: “A seafood risk tool for assessing and mitigating chemical and pathogen hazards in the aquaculture supply chain.”

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