While we continue working to mitigate aquaculture’s harms, we are also looking at how to support the creation of a net-positive from aquaculture via farming seaweed and appropriate bivalve culture. Farming shellfish and seaweed can improve the environment by reducing nutrients in the water and increasing biodiversity by creating a mini habitat within the ocean. Additionally, seaweed absorbs and sequesters carbon dioxide when almost half of the seaweed sloughs off during its growth phase and migrates to the deep ocean.
WWF has made two pioneering impact investments in seaweed, one to Ocean Rainforest, a seaweed farm on the Faroe Islands, and the other to Oceanium, a company that is creating bio-based packaging from seaweed. We’ve also been working with the Global Environment Facility to develop four seaweed farms in Vietnam and the Philippines to develop a business approach to seaweed production to supplant typical subsistence approaches.
“We’re trying to increase seaweed aquaculture production,” says Aaron McNevin, WWF’s global network lead for aquaculture and the vice president of aquaculture for WWF-US.
“That’s a fundamental shift in what we’re doing,” adds Macleod.
Such efforts are increasingly important as aquaculture accelerates and holds an ever-larger role in seafood production around the world. Consumers can do their part by looking for ASC certification on seafood that they buy, boosting net-positive bivalve and seaweed production, and supporting WWF in our work to reduce the impacts of this industry.