A new crop in the sea: Seaweed cultivation in Belgian waters

Seaweeds – the announced superfood of 2021 – are packed with healthy antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. They have been a typical part of Asian cuisine for a long time and are steadily gaining popularity as a food source in Europe. To meet rising demands, seaweed aquaculture is a rapidly emerging sector in Europe. A multidisciplinary team from Ghent University, Belgium, along with industrial partners is investigating the possibility of offshore cultivation within windfarms and aims to tackle bottlenecks to advance land-based cultivation of high-value seaweeds. The Ghent University Phycology team is part of the multi-national Horizon 2020 project, UNITED (multi-Use offshore platforms demoNstrators for boostIng cost-effecTive and Eco-friendly proDuction in sustainable marine activities). The seaweed currently being grown off the coast of Middelkerke is Saccharina latissima, also known as sugar kelp or Devil’s apron. The aim is to determine the best feasible way for cultivating sugar kelp in the Belgian part of the North Sea.

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