North Sea Farm Foundation offers blue economy solutions to food security
The blue economy is a solution to reduce carbon emissions and ensure food security. Seaweed is an alternative source of nutrients for our diet as cattle farming produces alarmingly high quantities of greenhouse gasses. It is grown from renewable, local, sustainable sources on and offshore.
Image: ©North Sea Farm Foundation
Seaweed is healthy and tasty. Seaweed is a common ingredient in Asian sushi dishes. And more and more Europeans are discovering it as an alternative source of nutrients. It can be used a flavouring in soups, garnish in salads and as a raw material for bioplastics and textiles. In the Netherlands, The Dutch Weedburger company has already developed a tasty award-winning snack which is sold at festivals and hip restaurants.
Seaweed production does not require fresh water, farmland or fertilizer. It can be grown locally. And offers new opportunities for the economy adding to our food security and the Netherlands could become a frontrunner in the industry. It converts greenhouse CO2 into biomass and oxygen, which counteracts oceanic acidification and climate change. Inadvertently seaweed farms acts as a nursery for young fish and shellfish. And seaweed farms can also be combined with offshore wind farms.
After several months trying out its techniques in a test farm off the island of Texel, the North Sea Foundation has been given permission to start new trials 15 kilometers off the Dutch coast at seaside resort Scheveningen. The aim of this sea farm is to test growing seaweed among offshore wind farms.
The foundation has set up the Seaweed Platform where coalitions between businesses, government and research organisations can realise a regional seaweed economy. Fifty organisations have already joined so that oceans become a sustainable source of local food and biobased applications.