Peak body for commercial seaweed industry launches

Tuesday, 21 November, 2023

Peak body for commercial seaweed industry launches

Claimed to be Australia’s first peak body for the commercial seaweed industry, the Australian Sustainable Seaweed Alliance (ASSA) represents 10 corporate members across six states. The founding partners are CH4 Global, the University of Tasmania, FutureFeed and the Australian Seaweed Institute. Other members include AusKelp, CleanEyre Global, Fremantle Seaweed, Harvest Road, Pacific Bio, Tassal and Sea Forest.

ASSA was launched in Canberra to advance environmentally responsible farming and production, strategic research and development, and scientific and biotech-related commercialisation. This includes fast tracking Asparagopsis (red seaweed) production to help meet the Australian Government’s emissions reduction targets.

The emerging industry is expecting rapid growth with the potential of becoming a billion-dollar industry by 2040 — ASSA’s Australian Seaweed Industry Blueprint forecasts $100 million GVP (gross value of production) in coming years.

Jo Kelly, ASSA Chair, said, “ASSA’s mission is to scale up environmentally responsible commercial farming of seaweed to provide food, feed and bioproducts. Development of seaweed cultivation at scale is the single biggest opportunity for rapid industry growth and optimising social and environmental outcomes.”

The Australian Government has committed $8 million to the Developing Australia’s Seaweed Farming Program to support investment in the industry and scale up seaweed production as a livestock feed supplement. This is being delivered by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) and ASSA to plan and coordinate research and development, biosecurity and the development of a national hatchery network.

The FRDC has been an integral part of ASSA’s formation, providing investment for strategic management and delivery of seaweed industry RD&E priorities, supporting sustainability in Australia’s aquaculture and aquatic ecosystems.

Lindsay Hermes, ASSA’s inaugural General Manager, said Australia could be well placed to play a leading role in scaling up seaweed production with the right policy settings.

“A recent World Bank Report found that over the short and medium term, some of the most promising new segments for this sector include bio stimulants, nutritional supplements, bioplastics, fabrics and importantly, methane-reducing livestock additives,” Hermes said.

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