The Earth’s surface consists of 70% water, yet only 17% of our food currently originates from the sea. There are many opportunities to increase protein production from the sea, such as the cultivation of seaweed.
Wageningen Marine Research is currently mapping the most suitable locations for seaweed cultivation in the North Sea. Researchers are also collaborating with Stichting Noordzeeboerderij (the North Sea farming foundation) to determine the growth and quality of seaweed in production pilots and to design multifunctional offshore seaweed farms. We are also acquiring new knowledge in the area of ecological risks and opportunities. What role does seaweed cultivation play in strengthening marine biodiversity? Or could it instead play a role in the spread of invasive species? Smart, innovative techniques, such as DNA methods, are being used to evaluate changes in species composition in water samples and at farm structures. In another project, sensors are developed and tested with the aim of remotely monitoring the growth and quality of seaweed in offshore farms.
These studies contribute to knowledge about the opportunities and risks for seaweed cultivation in the North Sea ecosystem.