Title: Sustainable harvesting of wild seaweed resources
Citation: EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PHYCOLOGY vol. 52 no. 4 p. 371-390
Publication Year: 2017
JRC N°: JRC106402
ISSN: 0967-0262
URI: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09670262.2017.1365273
DOI: 10.1080/09670262.2017.1365273
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Macroalgae, or seaweeds, have played an important role in coastal communities for centuries. Seaweeds have historically been harvested and gathered from shorelines around the world for traditional uses such as for food, animal feed and as a crude fertiliser. Today, seaweeds are utilised in a staggering variety of applications with an expanding global industry based on hydrocolloids, cosmetics and food supplements, and now as a potential biofuel source. Of the approximate 10,000 algal species reported to exist, however, only a small number are commercially utilised. While representing only a small fraction of total global seaweed production, the harvesting and gathering of “wild” seaweeds has had, and continues to have, an integral role to play in many coastal societies and this activity is often intrinsically linked to the cultural identity of coastal communities. Today, 32 countries are actively harvesting seaweeds from wild stocks, with over 800,000 t harvested from natural beds annually. It is vitally important that seaweed resources are utilised sustainably and that their health and longevity are effectively maintained. Coastal communities continue to play key roles in the management of seaweed resources around the world. As the popularity of seaweed increases and as more “trendy” seaweeds come to the fore, it is critically important to ensure the sustainability of the resource from increased pressures from harvesting. Issues exist regarding ownership of the resource, over-exploitation of this natural resource and the implementation of poor harvesting techniques. It is important that resource scientists, managers, conservationists, governments, and other stakeholders are proactive in the sustainable management of these vulnerable, yet valuable resources.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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