Seaweed – the next big marine industry for South Australia

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By Milthon Lujan

Australia – South Australia’s fledgling commercial seaweed industry will get a significant boost with a $1.5 million Marshall Liberal Government project to grow the sector and create new jobs.

The two-year project will include establishing a local seaweed industry cluster, undertaking large-scale cultivation pilot trials, looking at ways of boosting commercial seaweed production, and establishing a land-based hatchery.

Current industry partnerships are already generating more than $105 million in economic activity in the next two to four years with modelling indicating the industry could generate an additional $120 million to the state’s economy and an extra 453 jobs over the next five years.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said South Australia was uniquely positioned to take advantage of the growing international interest in this sector.

“Turning seaweed into a valuable commodity may seem strange to some, but there is huge opportunity in South Australia with early estimates showing the industry could add $120 million to the state economy and create hundreds of jobs,” Minister Basham said.

“Commercially grown seaweed can be used in industries such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food production, animal and stock feed. The mass production of seaweed also benefits carbon recycling and offsetting the impact of greenhouse emissions.

“We have a highly diverse seaweed flora endemic to our waters, large areas of in-sea and coastal land for farming, a supportive regulatory environment for aquaculture development, an international reputation for high quality seafood and state of the art research and development capability.

“This new $1.5 million project, which is being led by the South Australian Research and Development Institute, will help better engage with the private sector to attract new players into the local industry and grow our commercial seaweed opportunities.

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“This project is also on top of the Marshall Liberal Government’s $2.6 million investment into the Marine Bioproducts Cooperative Research Centre, which will help establishing South Australia as an international leader in commercial seaweed.

“Over the next two years we are looking to foster the engagement between commercial industry companies, technical experts and researchers in order to enhance the understanding of seaweed as a raw material along with identifying and resolving constraints that currently exist to large scale seaweed production.

“South Australia’s aquaculture industry is already a key part of our state economy contributing $229 million in 2019-20 and supporting thousands of jobs across South Australia.

“A local commercial seaweed industry could add significant value to our economy and hundreds more jobs.”

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