Funding Boost for Seaweed Nursery in Scotland

Seaweed nursery manager Callum O’Connell examines seaweed grown at the SAMS seaweed farm.

A£150,000 project to expand and commercialize the seaweed nursery at the Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS) has secured up to £75,000 investment from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). The nursery will be operated by SAMS Enterprise, the wholly owned commercial subsidiary of SAMS.

SAMS Enterprise is at the heart of the seaweed industry development, including research, innovation and commerce, which forms part of Argyll’s wider aquaculture economy. It produces seeded line for both commercial and research purposes and has a growing role in education and training for seaweed farming.

The project will increase production capacity, improve efficiency, and advance the institute’s applied research capabilities. It will also support 1.5 full time equivalent skilled jobs. This investment will enable SAMS Enterprise to further commercialize its nursery services and fulfil the growing demand for high-quality seeded line for commercial seaweed farms. The seaweed industry is the world’s fastest growing area of global aquaculture production, currently worth over £11bn a year. 

The Nursery premises have been reconfigured to optimize production with refitted laboratories, upgraded seawater supply and installation of specialist equipment.

“The European Marine Science Park is a major hub in Scotland’s growing marine economy,” said Morag Goodfellow, HIE’s area manager for Argyll and the Islands. “The expanding cluster of activity here is very much founded on the links between cutting edge scientific research and the expanding range of commercial opportunities.

Mike Spain, head of SAMS Enterprise, added: “This very welcome support from HIE supports this emerging industry, which is a growing player in the blue economy on the west coast of Scotland and further afield throughout the UK.”

“SAMS has been at the leading edge of global macro and microalgae and marine biotechnology research and development for more than 100 years,” he said. “This science-led expertise translates to practical applications as we work toward productive oceans, while safeguarding the marine environment.”

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