This report aims at highlighting the potential of macroalgae production in The Baltic Sea region. Three different production tracks; macroalgae cultivation, wild harvest of macroalgae and beachcast collection, were examined through a survey among the project partners within the “GRASS initiative”, together with a literature study.
Seven potential production macroalgae species were identified for cultivation in the region. Cultivation is already ongoing in the Western Baltic Sea region on the Swedish west coast where cultivations of Saccharina latissima, Laminaria digitata and Ulva sp. are established. Land-based and small-scale coastal cultivations exist in the Baltic Sea region but with limited production because of low salinity, which inhibits high production of true marine species such as Saccharina latissima. Furcellaria lumbricalis is the only macroalgae species used in the region for wild harvest. In Estonia, an unattached form of the species is harvested each year in a limited amount. Four beach-cast projects were reported within GRASS (Latvia (2), Russia and Sweden), but small-scale projects of beach-cast collection occur in several parts of the region.
Production challenges identified by the project partners include demanding environmental conditions, legislation obstacles, lack of knowhow and high labour costs. To overcome these challenges, we suggest that more focus and effort is put on research and development of production systems in the Baltic Sea. The precautionary principle must be the leading star in harvesting of Furcellaria lumbricalis, and sustainability aspects must also be considered forbeachcast harvest in the region. To accommodate growth of sustainable macroalgaeproduction systems for cultivation, harvesting and collection, we need knowledge transferand build capacity to support the development of technology, legislation and policies in this area.