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Man in water holding seaweed

We are continually excited by the amazing developments in the world of seaweed. From companies like Rumin8 who are developing animal feed to reduce emissions from cows by over 90%, to seaweed’s use in the creation of sustainable fashion textiles and exciting bioplastics, wouldn’t it just be wonderful to remove single use plastics!

The potential for seaweed to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems is real. But there’s one big problem that is holding the industry back from harnessing seaweed’s true potential, the amount of research, innovation and investment required to truly understand and put in place the solutions. 

We spoke to Vincent Doumeizel, Senior Advisor on Oceans at the United Nations Global Compact to find out about his book, The Seaweed Revolution, and to learn more about how seaweed supports many global challenges. 

Vincent is the co-founder of the Global Seaweed Coalition, a global partnership established to support the safe and sustainable scale-up of the seaweed sector and gather the whole seaweed value chain. Since joining the UN, Vincent has been working right the way around the world, profiling the industry, breaking down misconceptions, telling the story of our hero crop to prime ministers and presidents, rock stars, celebrities, artists and the media and I’m sure Vincent would agree, everyone and anyone who will listen.

novel sat on top of a pile of seaweed

Tell us a little about your book Vincent 

The book offers a solution to the environmental, food, social and climate crises that we are all currently facing. It delves into the various ways that seaweed can help to overcome these major challenges. 

First, seaweed should become a more prominent source of food. While seaweed is eaten on a daily basis by many in Eastern Asia, Europe and America pale in comparison. By relieving the strain on our soil, and turning to the ocean, we can provide another source of food that is more sustainable and healthy. Packed full of vitamins and minerals, seaweed has the potential to feed populations and to improve their health.

Man leaning over side of ship with rod trying to catch a buoy

What do you think is biggest challenge for the industry to thrive? 

We need 100 times more scientists working on seaweed because there is so much that we still don’t understand. But for this to happen, attitudes towards seaweed need to change. We should stop calling it seaweed and call it sea vegetables to encourage eating, or sea forests so that we learn to protect them. We should stop saying that seaweed is slimy and smelly, because it really isn’t. To think of it as slimy and smelly, is to misunderstand the huge variety of seaweeds and all their individual qualities and benefits.

man holding seaweed on the side of a boat

We know seaweed could support many areas, what other industries could it help? 

Seaweed could also be the solution to the major plastic issue that we are facing. Companies like Notpla have developed an incredible biodegradable alternative, using none other than seaweed. And seaweed can even offer a solution to some of our social problems by providing jobs to struggling coastal communities. 

Seaweed is not a silver bullet, but I do think we have a great solution. The key to implementing this solution successfully is to learn from the mistakes that we made in agriculture. We are now realising that our agricultural systems are simply not sustainable and are polluting land and ocean, causing droughts, and reducing biodiversity. By turning to the oceans, we may be able to provide a solution. 

We shouldn’t just focus on hunger, or the climate crisis alone, looking to multiple applications will increase the resilience of the supply chain. Seaweed really ticks all the boxes, which is why the UN has become interested in the last 2 or 3 years, thanks to the great advocacy work undertaken by the Global Seaweed Coalition.

Man addressing a group on stage in front of display stand

How can we all help to support this revolution? 

Eat seaweed… talk about it and learn to cook with it in daily life. Three times a day, we are all environmental activists, voting for the world we want each time we eat. By doing this, we will increase demand and create a bigger market for seaweed. 

So go and get talking about seaweed and spread the word. Find out more about the incredible potential of seaweed by reading Vincent’s book, The Seaweed Revolution: How Seaweed Has Shaped Our Past and Can Save Our Future by Hero Press. Available on Amazon.

If you would like to understand more about or join the Global Seaweed Coalition, take a read of their manifesto or visit the website

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