BIM to host seaweed conference

THE Irish Sea Fisheries Board – Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) –has announced that its conference, ‘Farmed Irish Seaweed: An Ocean Wonder Food?’, will take place on 18 November 2014, with a post-conference interactive forum on 19 November in Limerick.

It is being held at the Radisson Blu, in Limerick, where a range of national and international speakers from the science and food sectors will discuss the potential to farm seaweed in Ireland.

The event’s keynote speaker is Amarjit Sahota, founder/director of Organic Monitor, a specialist UK market research, consulting & training firm focusing on the global organic and related niche product industries.

Other speakers include: Professor Sue Brawley, Professor of Botany at the School of Marine Sciences at the University of Maine, USA and an expert on the cultivation of sea vegetables and Dr Helena Abreu, research and development director of Algaplus, the Portuguese-based pioneer in the production of marine macroalgae.

The programme also includes a session for potential investors and a BIM-led session about how the BIM can assist farmers in establishing farmed seaweed businesses.

Donal Maguire, BIM’s Aquaculture Development Services Director said: ‘Through initiatives like the forthcoming conference and forum, BIM is working to raise awareness of and encourage inward investment into Ireland’s emerging farmed seaweed sector.

‘BIM has led a number of technological breakthroughs in seaweed culture techniques and, as a result, Ireland’s high value seaweed species such as Alaria esculenta and Saccharina latissima among others can now be reliably cultured in large volumes around our shores.

‘In addition, ground breaking culture techniques are under investigation for Porphyra and Palmaria. These highly nutritious and very valuable species have the potential to bring unprecedented growth and development to Ireland’s seaweed farming activities.

‘This new scale of development should provide an alternative source of farmed raw material from which Ireland can eventually produce a wide range of seaweed-based foods for human consumption that should be traded competitively in EU markets where the nutritional benefits of eating seaweed are gaining solid and increasing recognition.’