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Beach-cast growth and harvest potential in the Baltic Sea

Socio-economic benefits of sustainable beach-cast production in the Baltic Sea region

Harvesting of naturally occurring marine beach-cast and turning it into a marketable product (food, cosmetics etc.) offers an alternative avenue to macroalgal production while aligning with Blue Growth concepts. Beach-cast does have ecological functions such as providing food and habitat for sandy beach fauna, nutrients for dune vegetation, and protection for coastal dunes. Nevertheless, beach-cast is often considered a nuisance to humans due to the production of unpleasant odours when cast matter decomposes on the shoreline. This decomposition process also coincides with the production of carbon emissions. It has been estimated that the annual CO2-C flux from seagrass wrack globally is between 1.31 and 19.04 Tg C yr−1, which is equivalent to annual emissions of 0.5–9 million people depending on their geographic region. Thus, harvesting and removal of beach-cast while turning it into a marketable product offers a possibility to develop coastal carbon budgets as climate change and coastal development are accelerating. Efficient management of marine resources is of key importance for achieving sustainable environmental status in the European seas and sustainable blue growth of coastal communities.

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