Smart with Seaweed
Double-handed circumnavigators Ivar Smits and Floris van Hees, recently spent an extended period in New Zealand, using the opportunity to tour the country by campervan. Keen to learn from others about sustainability they report on a great number of interesting projects they discovered in NZ. One of these was AgriSea who use NZ’s native brown seaweed as a bio-stimulant for agricultural use.
Seaweed of a different nature is proving to be not quite so useful in the Atlantic and Caribbean, as Sargassum continues to pile up on beaches and float in vast mats on the surface of the ocean, a problem which has gone on for more than a decade. The incidence and size of algal blooms in the Caribbean and West Africa has been growing due to rising water temperatures, fertilizer release into the ocean and increased Sahara dust clouds, which stimulate algal growth. Attempts to use Sargassum as fertilizer, food, biofuel, construction material or medicinal products continue, but many Caribbean islands are unable to remove the vast amounts of the seaweed because they are struggling financially and have limited resources, not to mention the environmental impact when removing the seaweed with heavy machinery. Use the Sargassum Watch System (SaWS) to help with your cruising choices, designed to use satellite data and numerical models to detect and track pelagic Saragassum in near-real-time throughout the Atlantic, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.
If you can’t beat it, then eat it! Sailors report on the best type of seaweed to put on your plate and how to cook it: