England’s first commercial seaweed farm is setting sail thanks to a £25k loan from the Business Enterprise Fund (BEF).
SeaGrown, whose farm is based in the North Sea four miles out of Scarborough, was the brainchild of former fisherman, diver in the Navy and navigating officer Wave Crookes and marine scientist Laura Robinson, who met while on a Royal Research Ship in Antarctica.
The duo’s seaweed was initially harvested from rocks to create products for food, baths, pets and restaurants.
SeaGrown will continue to hand harvest seaweed, but in order to sustainably increase levels of production, the couple began the venture into seaweed farming with support from the Coastal Communities Fund.
Wave Crookes, director at SeaGrown, said: “After setting up the company 18 months ago, it’s magnificent to see our dream of a seaweed farm come to life.
“Seaweed has many phenomenal qualities, including soaking up of carbon, oxygenating and de-acidifying seawater, its ability to create biodegradable plastic and cut down ruminant animal methane emissions by up to 80%.
“All it requires is sea and sun to grow, so sustainability is at the heart of our business.
“The funding from BEF has enabled us to purchase the equipment which is fundamental for us to start processing the seaweed.”