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Our oceans

The Seaweed Manifesto; Safe seaweed to feed the planet

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Our oceans

The Seaweed Manifesto; Safe seaweed to feed the planet

In order to feed the world
and protect ecosystems,
our generation must be
the first to farm the oceans

Vincent Doumeizel

Director of Food

Lloyd’s Register Foundation & Senior Advisor on Ocean, United Nations Global Compact

By 2050, the global population will be around 10 billion. With over 800 million of us already going hungry, the challenge facing agriculture is stark. But if Lloyd’s Register Foundation’s first involvement with a project in the food sector fulfils its potential, the solution could well be not on the land, but beneath the waves.

“Our current reliance on meat and soya has a significant impact on the environment and will become unsustainable,” says Vincent. “The world’s seas and oceans cover 71% of the planet – that’s a huge and completely underused resource for our crowded world. Seaweed is healthy, and while it is common in North Asia, it is little known in the rest of the world. What we need now is a sustained drive to further explore the possibilities of intense seaweed farming, which requires none of the fresh water and chemicals consumed by land-based agriculture.”

LRF’s initial involvement with the seaweed project began with a challenge to see if a range of economic activities could co-exist in the North Sea, one of the world’s busiest seas. We played an active role in founding the Safe Production of Marine Plants and Use of Ocean Space (SOMOS) initiative, with outputs demonstrating that seaweed production could operate safely alongside offshore wind farms.

It also led to an EU H2020 grant of €20m, including funding for five pilot projects. In 2020, our experience with SOMOS led us to join with the UN Global Compact’s Action Platform for Sustainable Ocean Business, and to launch a ground-breaking manifesto to facilitate the development of an industry that could potentially end global hunger. Two months later, we took our support further and established the Safe Seaweed Coalition, bringing together a set of partners to ensure that production can be scaled up safely and efficiently.

“We need a revolution to feed the world of tomorrow,” Vincent adds. “Over the next 50 years, we have to produce as much food as in the previous 10,000 years.”

“By farming just 2% of the ocean, we could produce enough protein to feed 12 billion people. Our generation could be remembered as the first to feed the entire population of the planet with safe and sustainable food.

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