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Could floating seaweed ‘sausage’ farms be Queensland’s next big thing?

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Might floating seaweed “sausage” farms be Queensland’s subsequent large business?

A two-year trial led by the College of the Sunshine Coast and City Utilities has farmed 125 kilograms of seaweed — 10,000 sushi rolls value — off the state’s coast. 

“No-one else has farmed seaweed off the coast of Queensland,” USC biology professor Nick Paul mentioned. 

“We needed to begin proper initially, figuring out what species are there, very small-scale collections of seaweed.”

These collections had been then examined in a lab earlier than they had been despatched out to a Moreton Bay oyster farm, the place researchers found sausage-shaped nets had been the easiest way to develop seaweed there.

Why oyster farms?

Firstly, the infrastructure is already there, so it is only a matter of attaching the sausage nets.

Oyster farmers are additionally eager to diversify, Professor Paul mentioned.

“It is fairly powerful to develop oysters, it takes round about three years.

two thin cylinder nets of green and brown seaweed being drawn out of a blue plastic barrell
The trial is the primary to farm seaweed off Queensland’s coast.(ABC Information: Mark Leonardi)

“With local weather change and rising water temperatures there’s much more threat of operation round illness, so that they had been actually eager to see if they might diversify into different merchandise and seaweed is admittedly suitable with oyster farming.”

Seaweed was discovered to extend oxygen within the water, which is a win for the oysters and those that farm them.

Yearly 30 million tonnes of seaweed is produced worldwide, and AgriFutures Australia mentioned the nation had the potential for a $1.5 billion industry within the next 20 years.

And it is not all going into sushi. 

a glass beaker full of water and green seaweed
Researched farmed 125 kilograms of seaweed, or round 10,000 sushi rolls value.(ABC Information: Mark Leonardi)

“We all know that seaweed may be fed to cattle, there’s even individuals exploring its use in sustainable packaging,” Professor Paul says.

Seaweed can also be nice at holding the steadiness of vitamins in our waterways in test, the trial discovered. 

“Seaweed are actually good at eradicating vitamins from the water, they strip it out as they’re rising,” Professor Paul says. 

“For each tonne of moist seaweed that we’re pulling from the bay we’re pulling out about 1.5kg of nitrogen as effectively.”

Anna Hartley from City Utilities mentioned this might be helpful as our inhabitants grows.

“As extra individuals name our area residence, we’re keen about exploring clear, inexperienced and modern methods to ensure the steadiness of vitamins in the environment stays excellent.”

a man and woman hold up long strands of seaweed with the beach visible in the background
Professor Nick Paul and Anna Hartley say the following step is to see if large-scale manufacturing is viable. (ABC Information: Mark Leonardi)

What’s subsequent for seaweed farming?

Researchers have recognized a handful of seaweed species that might be developed into full-scale manufacturing.

“There’s an edible type referred to as sea lettuce, one other one is a seaweed that’s used to extract agar which is a gelling agent,” Professor Paul says.

“Then we discovered two brown seaweeds — that are the dominant ones off the coast right here — develop actually quickly, type fantastic underwater forests they usually’re the species that we’re hoping to work on afterwards.”

However extra analysis is required to see if large-scale seaweed farms are viable. 

Professor Paul mentioned research like this may lay the muse for brand spanking new tasks.

“There’s an entire wealth of alternative right here, we have got fantastic pure assets off the coast of Queensland and it is simply the suitable time to faucet into these.”

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