What are Seaweeds / Sea Vegetables / Algae?
Seaweeds are marine algae. Macro algae – large algae.
(There are also microalgae – tiny algae that in the sea, make up plankton).
Seaweeds are sea plants – plants that grown in the sea. The nutrients / vitamins / trace elements are more readily available (digested) in seaweeds / sea plants than they are in land plants.
Seaweeds / Algae are identified by their colous and comprise of 3 phyla / divisions :
- Brown Algae / Seaweed – Phaeophyta
- Red Algae / Seaweed – Rhodophyta
- Green Algae / Seaweed – Chlorophyta
There are about 10 000 species
- Brown Seaweed / Algae –
- Phaeophyta – 2 000 species
- Red Seaweed / Algae –
- Rhodophyta – 6 000 species
- Green Seaweed / Algae – Chlorophyta – 2 000 species
The Global Seaweed –
Of the global seaweed harvest 85% – 95% goes to the food industry and is worth approx €4.1 billion p. a.
The most valuable crop produced by seaweed aquaculture is Nori – Porphyra – a red seaweed / alga. The value of this crop is around US$ 2 billion p.a. (approx 130 t dry weight)
The seaweed that produces the largest amount by aquaculture is Laminaria japonica – similar to the Irish Seaweed Laminaria digitata.
China produces around 3.8 million tonnes p.a. of Laminaria japonica
Most of the seaweed industry is centred around the Far East.
The majority of the seaweed industry is by aquaculture in Japan, China and North & South Korea.
World Production of Seaweed – Algae
World Production of Seaweed (Algo Rhythme, No. 31, CEVA, Pluebian, France)
|Country / Area||Algae / Seaweed(fresh weight million t)||World Production (%)|
|FAR EAST COUNTRIES (TOTAL)||6.263||90|
Algae Species harvested and cultivated globally
Species of Seaweeds – Algae – Harvested, Cultivated and Amounts
|Seaweed – Algae Species – Name||Cultivated||Harvested|
|Laminaria – Kelp – Kombu||673 064||58 413|
|Porphyra – Nori||130 614||8|
|Undaria – Wakame||101 708||20 006|
|Chondrus – Irish Moss – Carrageen – Carragheen||1||12 213|
|Monostroma – Green Nori||1250||–|
|Irish Seaweed / Algae||10|
Irish Seaweeds has embarked on an Aquaculture Project with Queen’s University Belfast
Seaweeds / Algae from Ireland
Since the 18th Century over 500 different species of seaweed / algae have been identified around the shores of Ireland.
With the Gulf Stream and Ireland being located between 51 and 55 °N, many warm water species of seaweed / algae are at their Northern Limit and also some cold water species are at their Southern Limit.
Of the 500 species around the shores of Ireland, only a few are harvested and used commercially.
These areas of economic value are :
- Food and food supplements – edible seaweeds / algae that are sold as sea vegetables (sea veg, sea veggies)
- Fertilisers, liquid seaweed extracts and soil conditioners
- Raw material for seaweed polymers such as the alginate industry
- Cosmetics, body care, thalassotherapy and medicinal preparations.
The algae species that are harvested commercially are :
|Seaweed / Algae Species of Ireland that are harvested||Latin Name||Common Name(s)|
|Alaria esculenta||Dabberlocks, Wing Kelp, Murlins|
|Fucus serratus||Serrated Wrack|
|Fucus spiralis||Spiral Wrack|
|Himanthalia elongata||Thongweed, Buttonweed, Sea Spaghetti|
|Laminaria digitata||Kelp, Kombu, Haidai, Oarweed,Tangleweed, Sea Girdle|
|Laminaria saccharina||Sweet Kelp, Sweet Kombu, Kombu Royale,Sugar Kelp, Sugar Wrack, Sea Belt|
|Also known as L. saccharina||Saccharina latissima||As above|
|Ascophyllum nodosum||Knotted Wrack, Asco, Rockweed|
|Palmaria palmata||Dulse, Dillisk, Shell Dulse|
|Porphyra||Nori, Sloke, Laver|
|Chondrus crispus||Carrageen, Carragheen, Carrageen Moss,Irish Moss, Jelly Moss|
|Ulva lactuca||Sea Lettuce|
|Enteromorpha intestinalis||Sea Grass, Sea Spirulina|
|Codium fragile||Sponge seaweed, Sponge Weed|