Spring is here and the best time of the year for us seaweed farmers! The longer days of sunshine have given the seaweed a big boost and now it's almost time to harvest what we sowed last autumn.
Here on the west coast we have good conditions for growing seaweed because it is a long archipelago with many sheltered bays. The water is also salty enough up in Bohuslän and the sunlight at our latitudes is sufficient for the sugar kelp to grow a few metres per season.
Seaweed cultivation starts in the lab
Spores from reproductive macroalgae are sown on nylon lines in the lab after summer. There they are allowed to grow a few centimetres and then wound up on a stronger rope. The rope is deployed in the sea in the autumn in buoys when the seaweed is strong enough to withstand the harsh weather over the winter months. Sun, wind & water do the rest and six months later it's time to harvest. The last Thursday in March is seaweed premiere time and then it will be full steam ahead headless to be ready in April-May.
Benefits of seaweed farming
Seaweed farming has a number of advantages over land-based biomass.
- It does not take up land and therefore does not compete with agriculture or forestry.
- Requires no fertiliser, irrigation or energy inputs such as light or heating.
- Thirdly, the algae take care of themselves once they are out at sea, isn't that wonderful?
At the same time, the algae create a nice habitat for crustaceans and fish. Growing macroalgae can therefore help to solve the problem of eutrophication of sea bays while increasing biodiversity.
Seaweed farming good for the sea
Seaweed farming is beneficial for marine areas suffering from eutrophication by its uptake of nutrients from seawater. In addition, the seaweed produces oxygen through its photosynthesis. The dream scenario would have been to have seaweed plantations along the Baltic Sea to begin to tackle eutrophication. Unfortunately, it is difficult to grow seaweed in the Baltic Sea because the salinity is too low, but who knows, someone might take up the challenge and help the Baltic Sea breathe again.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us!