Seaweed Farming: Could This Carbon-Negative Crop Help Restore Our Oceans?

  • 20th May'22
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Seaweed farming helps in resolving the world’s climate crisis. Scientists believe that the seaweed has the great ability to absorb a vast amount of carbon dioxide, so its rapid growth of this can help in addressing climate change. It transforms the way we farm both in oceans and on land. In other words, seaweed farming is the most significant tool of farming that can save the earth, environment and climate from adverse impacts. China is the world’s biggest producer of farmed seaweed. Many nations want to realize the potential of this marine crop. 

 

Seaweed Farming

The data states that seaweed is believed to absorb 200 million tons of Co2 every year globally. It helps in the emission of carbon. The aborigines in Australia have been using seaweed for almost 45000 years but with a different purpose. With this, China has been cultivating seaweed for almost 1700 years. 

Seaweed contains approximately 47% protein by dry weight, in addition to these other varieties, has a higher amount of iron, magnesium, calcium, a hefty dose of vitamin B12 and other nutrients. In short, it is rich in vitamins, antioxidants and mineral salts. Seaweed farming has registered a 200% growth rate in Alaska in 2019, since its beginning in 2017. Farmers employ suspended loneliness to conserve space by leveraging the water column, which requires tiny acres.  Thus the process is simple, economical and with immense environmental benefits.

It could be a great alley to fight to control the pollution in oceans and also preserve nature despite the adverse impacts of global warming. There is no need for fertilizers in seaweed farming, as it absorbs all the nutrients that are present in the water. 

 

Seaweed Farming

 

Benefits of Seaweed Farming

When it is farming the seaweeds then the farmers use boats and machinery like rakes and trawlers. On one hand, it is easier but on another hand, these tools adversely affect the habitats and sea animals’ homes. To combat this issue, the farmers in Norway used the rake method to remove the floating top canopy of seaweed, this avoids seabed disruption. Here are some of the prime benefits of the seaweed farming :

Seaweed farming and the Environment

According to findings from Chinese researchers in 2019, it was revealed that the sea’s health can be improved by seaweed farming. Agriculture can help combat eutrophication, a process that makes the water enriched with nutrients and cause excessive algae growth and oxygen depletion. Seaweed removes more than 75000 metric tonnes of nitrogen and 9500 metric tons of phosphate from coastal water. Seaweed aquaculture absorbs a large amount of carbon dioxide and releases million metric tons of oxygen. 

As a natural filter seaweed helps in removing the pollutants from the environment. It also indicates that people would eat seaweed as it contains a high level of metals and iodine. 

Seaweed Cosmetic and Medicine

It is a strange fact that a large part of the world uses seaweed as cosmetics. Tanzanian women farm seaweed to export to China, Korea, Vietnam and other nations, they use the seaweed as an ingredient in cosmetics. It can be an interesting fact for you to find some places in the country of Sligo to take a traditional seaweed bath. 

 

Seaweed Farming

 

Seaweed as Biofuel

Seaweed farming can increase the use of biomass as renewable energy. Biomass energy encompasses plant and animal-derived energy like food crop waste, animal farming, human sewage, and wood and forest residue by-products. Seaweed as a biofuel has garnered little commercial interest, the market is still unexplored. Although the industry holds a high-level potential. 

Combat Ocean Acidification

Oceans are the world’s one of the best carbon sinks, absorbing and storing carbon chemical compounds to lower the risk of Co2 from the environment. This natural process helps in keeping control of carbon emissions, but recent upticks in greenhouse gas emissions have caused too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This results in the acidification of oceans which is the prime cause of adverse impacts on marine species. In addition to this you should follow trends for environment and sustainability to have a keen atmosphere.

So the seaweed grows rapidly and pulls Co2, from water. According to the research of 2021, it has been revealed that three seaweed farms in China have increased the pH level of water by 10 within the arena and enough efficiency to reduce the impact of acidification. 

Manage Pollution

Seaweed is good for absorbing carbon dioxide and acts as a sponge for heavy metals and coastal pollutants. It is grown for this reason, and could not be eaten, but it provides the solution to improve the health of the marine ecosystem. So this kind of seaweed farm with large and fast-growing kelp can create and restore habitats for fish and other types of ocean life. 

As per the reports of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 80% of pollution in marines comes from land, like pesticides and fertilizers from industrial-scale agriculture and septic tanks and vehicles. These pollutants react in the body through water and cause environmental problems in the form of harmful algae and low oxygen. So the cultivated seaweed can reduce the adverse impacts of these nutrients and can produce oxygen to cope with both the cause and effect of the areas. 

 

Seaweed Farming

 

Limitations of Seaweed Farming

Apart from benefits, there are some adverse impacts of seaweed farming such as large cultivation can cause negative ecological implications and affect the life of marine habitats. In addition to this, the overproduced seaweed can impact the amount of natural light that is available to marine species that rely on photosynthesis. 

However, the research states that seaweed cultivation is the solution to many environmental issues. Seaweed farming reduces the economic cost, as by applying the natural process of seaweed farming, we can mitigate the cost of wastewater management, by converting the seaweed into biofuel, fertilizers, or fuel depending on water quality. 

Thus to protect the oceans is our prime duty and we should follow the sustainable development goals to protect the environment.

 

Conclusion

Seaweed farming is the best solution for saving the environment from the adverse impacts of carbon. Growing seaweed can reduce ocean acidification and help coastal ecosystems to adapt to global changes. In other words, the seaweed cultivation not only increases the pH level of water but it helps larger animals like oysters, crabs and clams to overcome the impacts of ocean acidification. 

So seaweed farming is a remedy for saving nature and the environment from the pollution and carbon effects.

For more blogs on Environment and climate risks, stay tuned with us!

 

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Sources/References:

*Note: The content published above was made in collaboration with our members.

About the author:

Roshni Khatri, OpenGrowth Content Team

A keen observer, who loves to spend time with nature. A fun loving person, enjoys to explore the new aspects of life. Passionate about reading and learning new things. Roshni is dedicated towards her work and has worked in different professions.


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