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Respecting our Marine Environment: Seaweed Sustainability

SeaBOS A collaboration has been formed between Swedish researchers and some of the biggest fishing companies in the world.  The aim of this collaboration is to connect scientists with businesses and encourages them to share their knowledge. It emphasises a science-business initiative for ocean stewardship, leading to improved business ethos and practice. Named SeaBOS (Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship), it is supported by the Stockholm Resilience Centre and compromises of companies from all over the world (the first time these countries have come together with the aim to end unsustainable practices!!) The initiative was joined by ten of the largest seafood companies in the world, that have a combined annual revenue of £23bn! Sustainability Science The marine industry-academia partnership’s approach is ‘sustainability science’, with the aim to reduce harmful environmental practices like marine pollution and over fishing. Lead study author Dr Österblom, said the aim is “private corporations, which are critically dependent on a healthy ocean for their long-term prosperity, take a leading role in ocean stewardship” which will benefit the environment and businesses. PHD student, Jean-Baptiste Jouffray “the strength of our study is to report in detail on such an interaction while putting it into the broader context of sustainability science”. Other Issues Other issues in the seafood supply chain are modern slavery and the impacts on habitats and non-target species. Modern slavery was spotlighted by The Guardian in 2014, based on a six month investigation, it showed worker exploitation and deprivation of their rights. IUU stands for illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Pledges from SeaBOS SeaBOS have composed several pledges that they will stick by. ·         “eliminate...

Seaweed Forest Display – National History Museum

The Natural History Museum (NHM), until 1992, was known as the British Museum. When the museum first opened its doors in April 1881 the main exhibition was a collection of human and animal skeletons. Along with an exhibition of dried plants. Now the NHM is hosting a display to depict an extraordinary underwater seaweed forest, in Hintze Hall! Seaweed Forest Display Discover the world of Seaweed, with a window into the world of seaweeds, a hidden habitat under threat. The Natural History Museum exhibit is a display of pressed seaweeds using different types and species to show a seaweed forest. It features three glass panels of seaweeds collected by Professor Juliet Brodie and her team, “we want to give people a sense of what it is like in the seaweed forest”. The exhibit is raising the issue of how climate change could bring an end to Algae, as rising ocean temperatures are putting some species at risk. Professor Juliet Brodie seaweed expert at the museum “we know the water is getting warmer, it has gone up by two degrees centigrade in British coastal waters over the last 40 years”. “That might not seem like a lot, but we know that its having a marked effect on some species of seaweed”. Prof. Brodie designed the work with her team, using seaweeds collected from the shallow subtidal zone and shore in Devon and Pembrokeshire.   Photo credit: Prof. Juliet Brodie, Natural History Museum History of Seaweed Fossils of some of the closest relatives of modern day kelp date back 1.6billion years.  Showing that the first living organisms before the dinosaurs was...

Seaweed Benefits for the UK with Research on Seaweed Farms

Seaweed Farming is the system of cultivating and harvesting of seaweed. This consists of controlling the life cycle of algae as much as you can. Oban is a resort town, located on Scotland’s West Coast. Up to 25,000 tourists a year visit. A trial began in April 2017, to farm seaweed near Oban. The trial site is being looked after by researchers from the world renowned Scottish Association for Marine Science at Oban. Why Oban? Seaweed isn’t just being explored in Oban it is also harvested throughout Scotland. The waters surrounding the Outer Hebrides in Scotland have been attributed to be some of the most pristine and unpolluted in the world. Hence they have been given the highest quality classification available by SEPA (Scottish Environmental Protection Agency) to reflect this. Why Farm Seaweed: Seaweed Benefits for the UK The Global value of seaweed in 2014 was 6.4billion US dollars (~£5billion). The value exceeds that of the world’s lemons and limes! As a highly sustainable resource seaweed requires no land, freshwater or fertilizer to grow. Therefore some species of seaweed are even believed to grow up to 2 feet per day! Seaweed can be used to enhance nutrition and is naturally rich in Iodine (EU Approved Health Claim). Also seaweed may be used as a salt replacement for flavour and shelf-life extension. There are numerous uses of Seaweed. Animal fodder Biofuels Beauty products and most importantly… Food and health! These uses are globally relevant, and with here at home with seaweed benefits for the UK. Seaweed is thought to have been used by early Homo sapiens. Furthermore it was used...

Seaweed for weight loss — are sea plants the key to fighting obesity?

Jessica Pahl, a student from Queensland, has received a grant of $45,000 to undertake ground-breaking research into whether we should all be using seaweed for weight loss We all know that seaweed is a superfood, but did you know there’s now growing evidence to suggest we should all be using seaweed for weight loss too? Pahl, 22, received her grant from the State Government. It will go towards research into whether there is a strong enough connection to be using seaweed for weight loss. Pahl will be conducting her research as she works towards her PhD. The bursary will help her finance conducting three rounds of tests to thoroughly examine the effectiveness of seaweed for weight loss. These tests will be carried out on albino rats. Pahl will supply the rats with the seaweed in powder form, allowing them to consume it easily. Pahl hopes that her research will eventually lead to the possibility of human trials. Her goal is to create a potential new anti-obesity pill. Seaweed for weight loss is not a new subject for Pahl. This Government bursary marks a continuation of research conducted by both her school and by James Cook University. According to Pahl, this past research yielded “exciting results”. Pahl will be testing different kinds of seaweed, studying a spectrum of species with varying fibre and antioxidant levels so that she can find the most effective seaweed for weight loss. Is there other evidence to suggest using seaweed for weight loss? The popularity of seaweed both as a superfood and using seaweed for weight loss soared back in 2015 when famous chef Jamie...

EU botanical health claims discussion may finally be back on track

EU botanical health claims have had their discussion delayed for seven long years, but things seem to be turning around after VitaFoods 2017 Work by the European Commission to achieve clarity regarding EU botanical health claims have been constantly faced with delays since 2010. However, a number of public and industry consultations have recently been reaching conclusions, showing that agreements might finally be being made. Feedback from these conclusions are expected by the end of 2017, and will form the basis for recommendations. This report is particularly anticipated by those who attended the VitaFoods conference back in early May. So why have these EU botanical health claims been deferred for so long? Well, this huge delay is actually the result of clashing rules regarding EU botanical health claims — in particular, claims on botanicals used in foods and claims for therapeutic uses of traditional herbal medicines. Discrepancies like these make it difficult to know for sure how botanical ingredients should be dealt with so that no misleading health claims appear on food supplements containing botanical ingredients. These factors come together and make it extremely difficult to create accurate and provable EU botanical health claims. As a result of the delay, some countries even took matter into their own hands. Italy, France and Belgium cooperated voluntarily in order to create a common approach made to regulate botanical use in food supplements. This was named the BELFRIT project to reflect the countries involved. However, progress has been made by the European Commission itself to help bring us closer to EU botanical health claims, through the Commission’s own project as part of...

Research into seaweed

Incredible results found through research into seaweed involving Doctor Seaweed published in Algal Research Doctor Seaweed himself has discovered some eye-opening findings through research into seaweed, demonstrating that there’s always more to learn about this fascinating oceanic plant. The research into seaweed by Doctor Seaweed® and his peers – published in Algal Research – aimed to research the effects of reproductive sterility on the green seaweed Ulva rigida, in hopes of finding that reproductive sterility could help exploit the seaweed for commercial applications. This research into seaweed was inspired by findings from previous research into seaweed, many of which came across difficulties maintaining Ulva species in the vegetative state, as the formation and release of reproductive cells often stopped Ulva growth entirely and sometimes led to disintegration. These results were surprising for researchers, as the Ulva species is known for its high growth rates and tolerance of a variety of environments. It has been implemented into food, biofuel feedstock and plays a role in the delivery of wastewater and CO2 remediation services – and all of this has resulted in a high distribution of the species commercially. The use of Ulva commercially meant that it became vital to find robust strains of the species and find a way to exploit it effectively, and this was the precise aim of the research into seaweed published in Algal Research by Doctor Seaweed®. The method of this research into seaweed involved obtaining a sterile mutant of Ulva rigida by mutating a wild type strain of the same species, using ultraviolet radiation. The research into seaweed aimed to develop a sterile strain which...