Farming without any land...... the objective of new venture Algapelago (, which is aiming to turn Bideford Bay into a productive seaweed farm.

Seaweed is increasingly becoming recognised as a major resource, not just for its contents, used for food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, but also as a way of sequestering carbon from the atmosphere.

Algapelago's Olly Hicks outlined the world market for seaweed, approx. 35MTe pa at the moment with 97% in the Far East.

When used for animal feed, seaweed can help reduce the methane production of animals, and, as a pharmaceutical, acn have health benefits such as anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and consequently reducing cancers.

The projected mariculture, or ocean farming, area is 4 miles N of Clovelly. It was designated in conjunction with interested parties such as local fisherman, the Crown Estate and Trinity House for navigation awareness.

At the moment the farming is in a trial phase, with two stretched 100m horizontal lines which each have suspended lines, seeded with algae which in this case are sugar kelp and laminaria.

The waters here have a high tidal : depth ratio, but very high nutrient flows, so are reagrded as workable for aquaculture.

The best time to harvest the seaweed is as young growth in April and May, and it remains to be seen whether the strippedĀ  ropes will re-grow or require re-seeding.

Algapelago is looking very closely at the opportunities for servicing this embroyo industry from North Devon, despite the shortage of developed harbours with non-tidal access, but there will also be other employment opportunities if the venture takes off.

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