When you think about eating seaweed you most likely think of seaweed on a beach or taste it in a sushi roll?
However, did you know, seaweed is a dynamic food source which presents a wide range of exciting applications from yoghurt thickener to animal feed, pharmaceutical compounds, fertilisers and even as a biofuel?
While we import most of our use in Australia – worldwide in 2020, seaweed was a US$16.5 billion dollar industry.
With use increasing it is timely we investigate seaweed marketing opportunities in Australia.
From January 2021-June 2022, Deakin University’s Blue Carbon Lab in partnership with the Latrobe Valley Authority and Food and Fibre Gippsland investigated a first-of-its-type study in Australia as to the potential of a seaweed aquaculture industry in Gippsland. The study selected 10 seaweed species and found exciting results.
You can read the study here: Food and Fibre Gippsland CEO Nicola Pero said the study is exciting.
“There are multiple opportunities across the entire seaweed value chain – from the creation and maintenance of the seaweed hatcheries to harvesting the fast-growing crops, processing locally into a range of products and then distributing both domestically and internationally,” Nicola said.
“With our clean, green, and trusted reputation for quality produce, the introduction of a Gippsland seaweed product would take our Gippsland Trusted Provenance brand offering to another level, and potentially profile the region to some lucrative new export markets.”
Marine Scientist, Dr Paul Carnell from Deakin University’s Blue Carbon Lab and senior author of the report said “This report puts Gippsland on the front-foot to develop a sustainable and thriving seaweed aquaculture industry. We found in our surveys a diversity of species and locations that could be suitable for seaweed aquaculture in Gippsland and provide a shopping list for industry to choose the right species based on location and the desired end products.”
Project Manager and Food Scientist, Elena Nauta, who was part of the study said: “A real strength in this work is the collaboration and contribution of voices and views from industry, local government, community, and research. The next workshop is open to all those interested in working together to maximise these exciting opportunities in the development of seaweed as a new and future market for Gippsland.”
Fibre and Food Gippsland invites you to join us on this exciting journey as we continue assessing seaweed aquaculture as a sustainable, profitable new industry for the Gippsland region.
The first meeting of the Gippsland Seaweed Innovation Network will be held online on Tuesday 4th October to discuss study results and next steps.
Seaweed is a fast-growing crop that requires no traditional agricultural practices like fertiliser and irrigation. It also provides shelter, a food source, and optimum conditions for fish growth by improving nutrient levels in the water.
The report released findings in June 2022.
It found a total of 269 unique seaweed species are in Gippsland. The many different varieties of macroscopic and microscopic algae commonly known as seaweed present a massive opportunity.
The Australian Seaweed Industry Blueprint projects that by 2025 seaweed could deliver a $10 million per annum industry to Australia generating more than 1200 jobs. With a growth rate of up to 30 times that of land-based plants, growing seaweed commercially has many benefits to the local economy and environment.
With the study demonstrating a positive case for catalysing a seaweed-based industry, regional stakeholders and partners will work through the Gippsland Smart Specialisation Strategy (GS3) methodology of collaborative regional development to build a business case for government and private investment into the industry. The innovation group, via a digital session, will start in October 2022.
This news story has been prepared by the Latrobe Valley Authority.