Woman working on a seaweed farm
Blue Economy Report Cascadia Seaweed
Source: Blue Economy Report by Cascadia Seaweed

Seaweed is a win for you, the ocean, and the planet.

Seaweed is good for our planet in many ways. It sequesters carbon and is a sustainable biomass that can be used for biofuel, bioplastic, livestock feed, and for human consumption.

Seaweed is climate-positive which means the more that we can grow, the better off our planet is. It grows fast and absorbs CO2 while it’s growing, making it a valuable carbon sink. Seaweed also absorbs beneficial nutrients we need as humans and protects coastlines while creating new habitats for marine life.

Seaweed farming is an industry that is actually good for the environment. It can help heal our earth, coastlines, and communities.

Scroll below to learn how seaweed benefits our planet.

Seaweed’s Global Benefits

Carbon Sequestration

Much like trees and plants on land, seaweed captures carbon from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. Unlike trees, seaweed grows really fast so it can suck up CO2 at a phenomenal rate. This process is called carbon sequestration.

Seaweed has been removing carbon dioxide (C02) from the planet for at least 500 million years and recent studies have shown that wild seaweed sequesters 173 million metric tons annually for our planet.

Wild plus farmed seaweed can put the brakes on it by offsetting the carbon being produced by today’s industries.

Lastly, seaweed can also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in other ways too. Adding a small amount of red algae to cattle feed has the potential to reduce methane production from beef cattle by up to 99%. Read more about the benefits of seaweed as a sustainable livestock feed here.

Protecting Coastlines

Seaweed protects coastal regions against storm damage and soil erosion. Marine vegetation like seagrass, kelp forests, and mangroves act as a barrier to destructive storms by dissipating the energy of waves. Kelp beds, in particular, create onshore currents, which can promote the movement of sediment. 

Traditionally, hard structures like seawalls and breakwaters have been used as coastal defenses. However, these structures cause marine habitat loss and need continual and costly maintenance. A living shoreline is a more effective nature-based coastal defense strategy.

Sugar Kelp Farm

“By simply cultivating seaweed for food, fuel, or wellness, we help solve some of the biggest issues facing us today.”

The New Yorker

Connecting Communities

Seaweed farming not only sustains local economies but local communities too. Aquaculture is the fastest-growing food production activity in the world. Unlike other forms of aquaculture, seaweed farming foregoes the use of feed and fertilizers and has minimum technological and capital requirements allowing seaweed to be farmed in the most remote regions.

It has substantial socio-economic benefits for marginalized coastal communities which have reduced access to alternative economic activities. For instance, it offers jobs for First Nations communities where unemployment rates have forced people to leave remote regions to find work. As well, it is a sustainable alternative livelihood for small-scale fishers, reducing fishing pressure on overexploited fisheries. 

Seaweed for the Future

Seaweed is a climate change solution. Farming seaweed is regenerative and can efficiently restore marine ecosystems while offering coastal nations a viable source of revenue. It’s a high source of bioactive compounds (much-needed vitamins and minerals) for human and animal consumption. Lastly, it has the potential to be a future source of energy and renewable plastics. Seaweed, when farmed, provides many global benefits that are incomparable to other industries around the world. It is the fuel and food of the future.

Learn more ways seaweed benefits us!

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