The global seaweed industry is worth more than $5 billion per annum. That was news to me I must admit. Although I know there is a seaweed industry in Scotland, especially on the west coast, where it’s used in food, cosmetics and in fertilisers. There was of course a lucrative kelp industry in the Western Isles in the not-so-distant past and the Scottish Government has just issued guidelines on ‘Building a commercial seaweed industry’ in Scotland:
The main risks to the industry however are disease and pests which can have devastating effects on the crop and the dependent population often in developing parts of the world with fragile economies.
So, Dr Elizabeth Cottier-Cook of the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) is to lead a project which aims to find solutions to the pest infestations and the disease but also to train local people in identifying and preventing the disease.