Seaweed is a prime example of a nature-based solution stemming from the ocean. It is a regenerative material par excellence, with unique properties which are crucial to the ocean ecosystem. In contrast to land-based agricultural crops, seaweed requires neither external inputs such as fertilizer nor cleared land space to grow. In addition, seaweed can be used in a myriad of innovative and sustainable product applications with a range of health and environmental benefits. A strong European seaweed industry can boost economic growth, for example by channeling investment into coastal communities or by creating new employment opportunities. Yet the potential of seaweed has so far been largely overlooked.
The seaweed industry in Europe represents a remarkable economic, social and environmental opportunity. The European market for seaweed in 2030 has the potential to drive a multi-billion-euro industry, worth up to €9.3 billion. Under the right conditions, European producers could capture around one-third of this market (€2.7 billion), generating 85,000 jobs. In addition, seaweed could mitigate up to 5.4 million tonnes of CO2e emissions annually, remove thousands of tonnes of nitrogen and phosphorus each year from eutrophied European coastal waters, contribute to preserving biodiversity, and help protect European coasts from erosion.