Seaweed is increasingly recognized as an important source of valuable nutrients and an essential part of a healthy diet. This recognition has brought increased demand for healthy seaweed products from consumers and food processors.
Until recently, wild harvested seaweed has been considered a viable supply source for edible seaweeds. However, it is now clear this is not the case. Many seaweeds have been over harvested and are now at risk. Harvesting licenses are being revoked and harvesting moratoriums are being issued worldwide. Global warming is also having a dramatic effect on seaweed populations. See this recent Yale 360 Article and Voice of America.
It is time for immediate action on the behalf of consumers and to save our marine ecosystems. First, consumers and food processors should insist on sustainable farmed seaweed. Second, wild harvest seaweeds should be subject to the same management practices as any wild harvest fishery.
It is time we acknowledge, as have those in the fin fish industry, that sustainable aquaculture is the only responsible and sustainable way to meet increasing demand for edible seaweeds.
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