Wild seaweed harvesting as a diversification opportunity for fishermen

Michael Burrows, Clive Fox, P Moore, Dan A. Smale, Lucy Greenhill, Simone Martino, Christopher Allen

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

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The seaweed industry in Scotland is still in its infancy, but has the potential to thrive and develop to support a range of business that have identified uses for seaweed products. Wild seaweed harvesting can potentially present a unique opportunity for fishermen to diversity their work activities, relieving pressure from fish stocks and providing alternative seasonal income. Although small scale wild harvesting of seaweed occurs around the Scottish coast, the economics and feasibility of large scale wild seaweed harvesting has yet to be examined, with knowledge gaps for sustainability of harvests, environmental impacts and the
costs of Marine Licensing. Scottish waters are considered to have large stocks of Laminaria, and it is believed that they may be harvested with tolerable impacts to the natural environment. Laminaria hyperborea is not presently cultivated in Scotland, and although experiments are being undertaken in this area, cultivation cannot at present be regarded as an alternative replacement to wild
harvesting with respect to providing stocks of kelp to support large scale industry.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) contracted SRSL to investigate the potential of wild seaweed harvesting as a diversification opportunity for fishermen. The aim of the project is to deliver a report that covers three areas:
(i) Guidance on the mapping and location of seaweed for harvesting
(ii) Guidance on the harvesting of seaweed
(iii) Marine Licence scoping and economic feasibility of seaweed harvesting
This report is concerned with the potential for medium
Original languageEnglish
PublisherHighlands and Islands Enterprise
Commissioning bodyHighlands and Islands Enterprise
Number of pages171
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Kelp harvesting


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