One particular variety of seaweed (Saccharina latissima) commonly known Sea Belt, has been found help absorb toxic materials such as nitrogen phosphorous which are bi-product of fish farming. If the move goes ahead we could also see the cultivation of “Sea Belt’ for other commercial and environmentally friendly products such as bio-fuel.
The seaweed can remove up to 12% of waste from salmon farms which is responsible for algae blooms. Seaweed is also found in a lot of products ranging from cosmetics right through to food. In fact I had some for lunch today in my Sushi!
Researchers at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (Sams) carried out the test by planting seaweed close to fish farms in Badcall Bay and Calbha in northwest Scotland.
They found one species of seaweed, Saccharina latissima, removed 12% of waste from farmed salmon. The growth of the seaweed near the farms was compared to a control site of seaweed away from fish farms.
The Crown Estate is now pressing ahead with plans to create Scotland’s first seaweed farm, to tap into seaweed’s commercial potential.
It is hoped a seaweed farm would allow the plant to be exploited commercially as it is in China as well as tackle pollution. Seaweed can be used in food, cosmetics and medicine, and researchers are looking into using it as bio-fuel.
Dr Adam Hughes, a researcher and lecturer in sustainable aquaculture at Sams, said: “This study really shows what a win-win solution growing seaweed alongside salmon cages can be for the Scottish aquaculture industry; it reduces the environmental footprint of salmon production and provides the industry with another high-quality product.
“Seaweed is a valuable resource, found in a range of everyday products. This approach offers the industry a chance to diversify and expand.”
He added seaweed also absorbed chemicals from agricultural run-off and chemicals used to treat waste water.
These can include nitrogen phosphorous.
China produces 9million tons of seaweed commercially every year, about half the world’s total.
A seaweed farm at Sanggou Bay, in the northeast of the country, has rafts and ropes stretching for six miles.
The by-products of fish farming can cause an ‘algal bloom’ when they enter ecosystems.
News Source: Deadline News