Innovations for Seaweed Producers in the Northern Periphery Area
The cool, clear and clean waters of the North Atlantic allows seaweed to grow, flourish and thrive. Our pristine shoreline supports an ideal and sustainable environment which yields seaweed packed with minerals, antioxidants and a vast range of nutrients.
Seaweed contains many health benefits for humans and animals, acts as a fantastic fertilizer and are used as biostimulants- protecting plants against biotic and abiotic stresses.
Although seaweed has many benefits, much of the region is experiencing challenges. Increased costs of transportation, extensive drying time, and competition from Asian nations has led to the development of this project.
This project aims to identify common issues throughout the Region and give access to high-level R&D links within academic partners across regional and national borders to pilot solutions that can be adopted throughout the industry – thus developing solutions that enable technology transfer across the Programme area – in particular benefiting SMEs. This will result in higher levels of innovation and competitiveness in remote and sparsely populated areas by transfer and development of models and solutions that facilitate technology transfer to, and across, the Programme area.
The main result of this project will be the establishment of a “brand” of excellence for seaweed across the NPA region demonstrating that seaweed from the area is high quality, consistent and sustainable.
By focusing on the development of local and regional supply chains it is hoped that a reduction on environmental impacts associated with logistics, storage and transport will occur. Similarly, better processing techniques, particularly the energy intensive drying process to generate processes, will make processing more efficient. Furthermore, increasing the value of the product through more effective branding and knowledge sharing, economic benefits can be achieved without significantly increasing the quantity of raw material extracted.
Through knowledge exchange, the project will provide opportunities for innovation in areas such as seaweed cultivation. By developing cultivation, rather than wild harvesting, the period of economic activity can be lengthened to make employment more attractive and removing the seasonal nature of employment. Opportunities to cultivate palmaria palmate, or commonly known dulse will be explored alongside best practise techniques to cultivate saccharina latissima.
Creation of a DNA database of seaweed across the NPA region will allow for tracability and proven provennance of the seaweed. The aim of the activity is to generate a genetic testing kit destined for farmers and wholesalers of seaweed products to test for the provenance of the biological material. Demonstrating the provenance of seaweeds in commercial products from the NPA area will allow for the creation of a certified label to
- ensure end users with the origin of the seaweed and
- increase sales and public acceptancy
Armed with sustainably sourced seaweed that has confirmed origin within the NPA region, a “brand” of NPA seaweed can be obtained. This final work package is the Creation of an NPA brand of seaweed that stands for sustainably sourced, high quality and origin approved seaweed which farmers, harvesters or businesses can apply for. It is envisaged that this brand will be internationally recognised and will allow for small enterprises to compete on a larger scale.