seagrass and seaweed in the water

Put more seaweed on our plates

Professor Henrik Pavia, a marine biologist, has studied algae throughout his research career. Now he has developed Sweden’s first commercial seaweed farm (cultivating macroalgae) in the Kosterhavet National Park. This year’s harvest is already in the freezer counters of two major Swedish supermarket chains (Coop and ICA).

‘There’s enormous interest in our seaweed. It’s almost a bit exaggerated,’ Pavia says.

We are sitting in an open motorboat heading out to the Kosterhavet National Park, part of the Koster archipelago in the Skagerrak basin, off Sweden’s west coast. Pavia wants to show us this year’s harvest of sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima, also known as ‘sea belt’). An area of two hectares (some five acres) of it – three big football pitches – is suspended on ropes beneath us from the shiny red buoys. He leans over the rail.

‘See how smooth and fine they are — no fouling.’

Henrik Pavia likes algae. He has devoted himself to them throughout his research life. As a PhD student, he examined their chemical defence substances, seeking to understand how algae defend themselves against animals that feed on them. He sees himself as following a proud Swedish tradition of basic algae research in marine botany, with Carl Adolph Agardh, Carl Skottsberg and Harald Kylin as leading lights. His own interest in diving was another impetus.

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Author: Thomas Heldmark.

Status 06.05.2020.

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