GENetic diversity exploitation for Innovative Macro-ALGal biorefinery

A local seaweed success story: Blath na Mara

The Aran Islands are a group of three islands located at the mouth of Galway Bay on the west coast. Of Ireland. Blath na Mara (meaning flower of the sea) is a seaweed company run by a local Aran Island family on Inis Mor, the largest of the three small islands. In hand harvesting wild seaweed on the shores of Inis Mor, their mission is to bring seaweed from tide to table.  Blath na Mara’s main product is dried organic milled or whole seaweed, brought to market wholesale. Their specialised drying process ensures the harvested seaweed retains its nutrients, thus providing important health benefits to customers.

Aside from being a great example of the business opportunities seaweed can provide, Blath na Mara is also a success story for West FLAG (Fishers Local Action Group) who supports business development among some of the most remote communities in Ireland. Providing funding and expertise in several areas including enterprise and marketing, the FLAG assisted Blath na Mara in their transition from being an additional source of income for one person to becoming a successful small company employing four full-time people. On Inis Mor’s small community, a successful seaweed business is also hugely valuable to the economic sustainability of the island. With the support of the West FLAG, Blath na Mara has not only upgraded their existing premises and processing facility but has now also been encouraged to grow a new phase of the business, focusing on food and educational tourism for seaweed on the Aran Islands.

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