Sustainable Seaweed Farming in Europe


S​eaweed farming may be unfamiliar to most Europeans — but there’s a growing movement to change this. In 2012, in the southwest of the Netherlands, Dutch business consultant Rebecca Wiering and American lawyer Jennifer Breaton set out on a mission to make the food industry healthier and less wasteful.

“Affectionately, the country calls us ‘the two ladies with the seaweed.’ But, essentially, we were really entrepreneurs looking at how we can start creating food that is healthy for people, and that is responsible, and is tasty. And then one day we heard the word ‘seaweed’ and we thought, hey, wait a minute, there’s something going on there,” explains Ms. Wiering.

“If you want to farm in Europe, you have to do it sustainably”

Over the years, their small farm has grown by constantly improving its methods. Remaining true to its organic roots, it is now five times its original size. “Why was nobody farming? Because if you want to farm in Europe, you have to do it sustainably,” says Ms. Wiering. “You cannot just throw a lot of pesticides and bad stuff in the water. You need to do it really responsibly. Well, that was exactly what we liked!”

The Zeewaar farm has made sustainability its guiding philosophy. Unlike cheaper imports, their seaweed is locally grown in a protected natural area with no added chemicals: every tide feeds it with nutrients from the North Sea and nearby fish farms.

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