The benefits of seaweedSeaweed cultivation has a net positive environmental impact and provides opportunities to replace emissions-intensive products with low-carbon food, animal feed, bioplastics and biofuels.
Enhancing ocean ecosystems and environmental resilience
Seaweed cultivation can benefit ocean ecosystems by providing climate adaptation benefits that help build environmental resilience, including:
- temporary, localised refuge against increasing temperatures;
- reversal of acidification and deoxygenation;
- coastal protection and erosion prevention by attenuating wave energy from storms;
- bioremediation and water quality improvement through the removal of excess nutrients; and
- biodiversity enhancement through habitat provision.
Enhancing food security and building resilient systems
Although the ocean covers 71 per cent of the earth’s surface, it presently only contributes 2 per cent to the world’s food supply on a caloric basis, demonstrating that there are considerable scaling opportunities
Seaweed can contribute directly to food security as a nutrient-rich food source and indirectly by enhancing agriculture as an animal and aquafeed supplement and a bio-stimulant for plants.
Diversifying the food system can also help build resilience to the possible impacts of climate change, such as drought. Seaweed cultivation can also contribute to food security by serving as a nursery to forage fisheries, thereby helping to rejuvenate fish stocks.
Providing a nature-based carbon capture and storage solution
Seaweed for carbon capture and storage has many environmental co-benefits, including reversing ocean acidification and reversing eutrophication by removing nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus.
Decarbonising the economy
Seaweed can help decarbonise the economy by replacing emissions-intensive products with low-carbon alternatives, including:
- Animal feed
Harvesting and processing seaweed also enables potential land-based forms of sequestration, for example by serving as a soil additive.
Seaweed can also be processed into land-based carbon dioxide removal and storage products, such as biochar and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, which remove CO2 long term from the carbon cycle.