Scientists at the Wageningen University in The Netherlands have announced to open the first Dutch sea farm in the region of Zeeland later this year. At the farm, that will be run by world’s first sea farmer Julia Wald, vegetables such as sea lettuce and sea weed will be produced. It consists of little floating terraces hold together by cables. Racks and lines underwater will collect sea weed. The farm is an experiment to discover the possiblities of sea farming for the future.
Sea vegetables might be a possible solution for the world’s food problem that is predicted to become more severe in the next decades. By 2050, the world’s population will have grown to 9 billion people. To facilitate their needs food production needs to double. On land the possiblities for agricultural expansion are scarce, particularly in The Netherlands. “The answer lies in the sea”, according to researcher Willem Brandenburg.
Since sea weed is very nutricious, it is potentially succesful as an agricultural product for human consumption. Not only will it deliver fresh ingredients for lowlands’ sushi, it also contains proteins useful in the food industry and oil for possible bio-ethanol production. Left-overs will be used as biomass for green power plants.
Growing sea weed is not new, but the methods used in South-Eastern Asia are far from sustainable, explains Brandenburg. Usually chemicals are added to sea water to stimulate growing of sea weed. Besides the produciton of healthy food, offshore farming has another big advantage. Many places on earth suffer from a lack of fresh water. With each ton seaweed produced on a farm, 900 liters of clean fresh water will be produced. Very useful for the irrigation in dry regions.