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Fresh seaweed trial underway in UK

Staff Writer |
A trial that aims to help to create one of the UK's first seaweed farms, near Oban, is now underway.

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Run by researchers from the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), the site off the island of Lismore currently only covers one hectare, but it is hoped that it will be able to produce 100 tonnes of seaweed a year.

Although there are a number of established companies successfully harvesting wild seaweed from around the UK’s coastline, this would be one of the first attempts to seek to cultivate it commercially.

This is an initiative which has been inspired, in part, by the Scottish government’s decision to issue its first set of guidelines for the commercial cultivation of seaweed last month.

Speaking to BBC Scotland, Adrian Macleod, from SAMS, said: "The main thing is quality, so if you're producing seaweed for food you want to have control over the life cycle so you can produce a product which is high in the desirable compounds you're after.

"So, cultivating in this way gives us a lot more control over the quality and the species that we're growing."

Macleod added: "We also need to look at ways to produce systems for cultivating seaweed which automate the seeding, harvesting and the storage of the seaweed products.

"And in this way we hope to create an industry that is both economically viable and an industry which is great for the future."

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