Facts & findings

Scottish Seaweed Harvesting

Some years ago I wrote to the Scottish minister responsible for the possible big seaweed harvesting industry coming to the country – I urged him to look into the papers we read and not to bow to business pressure.

The reply was reassuring. F20140001187

Finally the Scottish government has released its policy on seaweed harvesting


scot gov seaweed harvesting

This is actually a stunning report detailing possible future harvesting as well as current harvesting, seabed strata, current status and much more, well worth a thorough read.

However in its conclusion it says this about Norwegian seaweed harvesting

To shorten this, it says the commercial trawling on the coasts of Norway and Chile are sustainable – why is up for speculation

this is the situation in chile


We have a lot of documents on Chile with emphasis on the environmental disasters currently unfolding – the situation from the reports is dire to say the least.

The Norwegian situation is delicate with seabirds declining in some areas by as much as 70% – as many bird reserves are trawled it is very likely that this has a major impact.

Some areas the plants have disappeared – the industry is currently harvesting in areas formerly severely predated by sea urchins, we have a number of reports connecting harvesting activities with predation.

The report in its conclusion goes on to say this, apparently Commercial mechanical harvesting on the Scottish coast is environmentally unsustainable, with emphasis on wave damping and destruction of ecological habitats.

Here are the finer details

It is a fascinating glimpse into international politics when a government report says that commercial trawling for seaweed is sustainable in other countries but not in Scotland – fact is mechanical harvesting of seaweed is not sustainable wherever you are.

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