The Cornish Seaweed Company will optimise a newly-developed system for enhancing growth rates of several commercial seaweed species and enabling the scaling-up of seaweed production.
Globally, the demand for seaweeds as a nutritional food source is increasing, with the European market for seaweed food products (aka sea vegetables) growing at about 7-10% per year. Virtually all sea vegetables produced in Europe are wild-harvested (>99%). In this burgeoning market, over-reliance on, and therefore over-exploitation of, natural stocks will be detrimental to near-shore ecosystems and create supply shortages. To generate an adequate sustainable seaweed supply, demand should be met through cultivation. However, the most popular edible seaweeds in Europe (i.e., dulse, nori and sea lettuce) have proven challenging to cultivate due to technical barriers, low yields and high production costs.
The Cornish Seaweed Company (a major UK seaweed food producer and supplier), in collaboration with the University of Exeter, has developed a technologically advanced, high-yielding, on-shore cultivation method to grow high value edible seaweeds. The prototype system has yielded growth rates for three seaweed species that exceed those obtained by conventional cultivation methods.
In the next development phase, CSC will optimise the system, quantify the quality of the cultivated seaweed, expand the system to work for different seaweed species, and scale production towards a commercially viable system.
The Cornish Seaweed Company Ltd