Seeded twine being deployed in the sea. Photo: Christine Rolin / SAMS.

Funding boost for Scottish seaweed nursery

A £150,000 project to expand and commercialise a seaweed nursery in Argyll, has secured up to £75,000 investment from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

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The nursery is at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) at Dunstaffnage near Oban. It will be operated by SAMS Enterprise, the wholly owned commercial subsidiary of SAMS.

The project will increase production capacity, improve efficiency, advance the institute’s applied research capabilities and support the seaweed farming industry throughout the UK, said HIE in a press release. It will also support 1.5 full time equivalent skilled jobs.

Seeded line

SAMS Enterprise produces seeded line for both commercial and research purposes and has a growing role in education and training for seaweed farming. HIE said the investment will enable SAMS Enterprise to further commercialise its nursery services and fulfil the growing demand for high-quality seaweed seeded line to commercial seaweed farms.

The nursery premises has been reconfigured to optimise production with refitted laboratories, upgraded seawater supply and installation of specialist equipment.

Morag Goodfellow: Seaweed nursery "both innovative and crucial". Photo: HIE.

Cutting-edge research

Morag Goodfellow, HIE’s area manager for Argyll and the Islands, said: “The European Marine Science Park (EMSP) is a major hub in Scotland’s growing marine economy. The expanding cluster of activity here is very much founded on the links between cutting-edge scientific research and the expanding range of commercial opportunities.

“The seaweed nursery at SAMS Enterprise, which of course is backed by the global scientific expertise of SAMS itself, is both innovative and crucial to the growth in Scotland’s seaweed industry. It may also attract new investors into the EMSP business cluster, which would strengthen our regional economy.”

Seaweed trailblazer

Mike Spain, head of SAMS Enterprise, said: “This very welcome support from HIE supports the ongoing work of SAMS in supporting this emerging industry, which is a growing player in the blue economy on the west coast of Scotland and further afield throughout the UK.

“SAMS has been at the leading edge of global macro and micro algae and marine biotechnology research and development for more than 100 years and has been a trailblazer in seaweed farming for two decades. This science-led expertise is translated to practical applications via our commercial arm, SAMS Enterprise, as we work to enable productive oceans, while safeguarding the marine environment.”

Read more about SAMS’ work with algae and how it can contribute to sustainable feed for fish farming in the current issue of Fish Farming Expert online magazine.