Science & Technology

Change the flow of seaweed farming

It’s nothing more than seaweed for businesses, especially CPG companies that want to generate multiple sustainability benefits from their investments.

Why seaweed? “Seaweed is a moment,” a recent CBS Morning News feature reported primarily for its role in restoring marine health and combating the climate crisis. The global commercial seaweed market is valued at $ 6 billion today, is primarily used in food and is growing at a historic CAGR of 6-8%.

Seaweed has great potential to extend beyond traditional uses to provide food and feed ingredients and materials, along with ecosystem services that meet the industry’s goals of clean supply chains and climate-friendly products and services. I am. Growth in the seaweed sector is good news for businesses and the planet as it provides unique opportunities to accelerate sea regeneration and improve the lives of seaweed farmers in coastal areas around the world.

Seaweed has great potential to meet the industry’s goals of clean supply chains and climate-friendly products and services.

Leading scientists such as Carlos Duarte, chief scientist at the Oceans 2050 Foundation and global expert on large algae and carbon, say seaweeds can have a greater impact on climate mitigation and adaptation than trees. .. In fact, seaweed is the only existing nature-based solution for removing CO2 loads from the ocean and is essential for both marine health and combating climate crises.

What we call seaweed is made up of more than 70,000 species and has a wide range of genetic diversity. Wild kelp forests occupy a quarter of the world’s coastline, and humans almost completely grow 12 species commercially in Asia. Seaweeds convert CO2 to oxygen by photosynthesis, similar to terrestrial plants.

According to Duarte’s groundbreaking research, seaweed biomass that has collapsed during growth is transformed into carbon-rich sediments carried by ocean currents. His research shows that seaweeds are driving marine carbon removal at rates comparable to terrestrial tropical forests.

The fastest growing plant in the world, kelp could be a powerful nature-based solution for combating climate change. Photo: Seaweed Solution AS

Recent “Nature Sustainability Article, Duarte estimates that seaweed farming can isolate 239 million metric tons of CO2 per year in coastal sediments by 2050, with an annual growth rate of 20%, but estimates that it is suitable for seaweed farming. It occupies less than 1% of the sea area. In addition, seaweed farming has the potential to export 182 million metric tonnes of CO2, which is currently untraceable.

Beyond carbon

In addition to carbon recovery, seaweed farming brings many benefits to the ocean, people, and the planet.

  • Seaweed can reverse the dead zone by removing excess nitrogen and phosphorus runoff from terrestrial agriculture and reoxygenizing water.
  • It does not require irrigation, feed or fertilizer and instead provides a source of food, feed and materials that emit less carbon dioxide than land-grown alternatives.
  • As a food source, it has been shown to improve gut health in humans and animals.
  • As a fertilizer or soil conditioner, its bioactive compounds can improve the resistance of terrestrial crops to frost, drought, heat and salt and increase soil carbon.
  • As habitats, seaweed farms and forests provide baby fish homes, provide temporary shelter for rising seawater temperatures and acidification, increase biodiversity of marine life and become increasingly acidic. Assist fisheries by assisting calcified substances that are struggling to shell inside the ocean.

Seaweed farming can contribute to the just transition of coastal communities at the forefront of the climate crisis. Seaweed farming poses a barrier to invasion for those already working in the sea, such as lobstermen in Maine, which is in the limelight for CBS function, and women-owned households, which make up 40% of partner farms. It’s getting lower. Madagascar farm.

Harvesting biomass for other purposes is compatible with carbon removal (unlike wood), as seaweed removes carbon as it grows, so you don’t have to worry about forest fires. Seaweed farming is profitable through the production and sale of biomass, making it a climate mitigation strategy that does not have to rely solely on carbon payments. Seaweed farming can provide food security to coastal communities around the world, provide coastal rural and indigenous groups with generations of economic livelihood opportunities, and contribute to a just transition. increase.

The ocean absorbs one-third of the CO2 emitted by humans since the Industrial Revolution, causing ocean acidification and, combined with the thermal stress of rising temperatures, is destroying marine ecosystems. Successful reductions in atmospheric concentrations will bring back much of that excess CO2. In other words, in order to achieve the goal of reducing atmospheric CO2 concentration, it is necessary to reduce the CO2 load in the ocean.

Maintaining its regenerative properties and ensuring fair access to marginalized coastal and indigenous communities while rapidly expanding seaweed farming is a priority list for those seeking to restore the sea and climate. It should be at the top.

Change the flow of seaweed farming Change the flow of seaweed farming

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