Photo: Charles Yarish, UCONN


There is a growing body of literature about the important role that aquaculture, and seaweed farming in particular, is taking in providing food in a more sustainable and low-carbon manner compared to terrestrial agriculture (Froehlich et al. 2018). In fact, as seaweed farming expands, it can play an important role for climate change mitigation, especially in developing countries (Duarte et al. 2017, Hoegh-Guldberg. O., et al. 2019). Seaweed farming could offset and sequester all the carbon emission contributed by aquaculture, making it the first major food sector to be carbon-neutral (Froehlich et al. 2019). Marine spatial analyses reveal that seaweed farming can play an important role in lifting economic prosperity, especially in the developing world, while benefiting and restoring the environment (Theuerkauf et al. 2019). In fact, co-culture of seaweed with shellfish may be an important factor in maintaining the vitality of marine protein production in the face of ocean acidification (Fernandez et al. 2019). Seaweed farming products have some interesting benefits for agriculture in the form of promising animal feed additives that can improve animal health (Harider et al. 2016) and reduce greenhouse gas production in ruminants by > 90% (Kinley et al. 2020, Roquea et al. 2019). Seaweed extracts can be used to improve productivity and stress tolerance in plant crops (Shukla et al. 2019).  A thorough review of the challenges and opportunities for seaweed aquaculture in North America, and the promising future for seaweed production worldwide is presented by members of ANCIENT MARINER (Kim et al. 2019).

References from above

Duarte, C.M., Wu, J., Xiao, X., Bruhn, A., and Krause-Jensen, D. (2017). Can seaweed farming play a role in climate change mitigation and adaptation? Front. Mar. Sci. 4, 100. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2017.00100


Fernández, P.A., P.P. Leal,  L.A. Henríquez (2019) Co-culture in marine farms: macroalgae can act as chemical refuge for shell-forming molluscs under an ocean acidification scenario, Phycologia, 58:5, 542-551, DOI: 10.1080/00318884.2019.1628576


Froehlich, H. E.,  C. A. Runge, R. R. Gentry, S. D. Gaines, B. S. Halpern. (2018). Comparative terrestrial feed and land use of an aquaculture-dominant world. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,115 (20) 5295-5300; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1801692115 


Froehlich H., J.C. Afflerbach, M. Frazier, B.S. Halpern (2019). Blue Growth Potential to Mitigate Climate Change through Seaweed Offsetting, Current Biology. doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2019.07.041


Harinder P.S., G.T. Makkar, V. Heuzé, S. Giger-Reverdin, M. Lessire, F. Lebas, P. Ankers,. 2016. "Seaweeds for livestock diets: A review." Animal Feed Science and Technology 1-17, volume 212.


Hoegh-Guldberg. O., et al. 2019. ‘‘The Ocean as a Solution to Climate Change: Five Opportunities for Action.’’ Report. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute. www.oceanpanel.org/climate


Kim, J.K.,  M. Stekoll, C. Yarish (2019) Opportunities, challenges and future directions of open-water seaweed aquaculture in the United States, Phycologia, 58:5, 446-461, DOI: 10.1080/00318884.2019.1625611

Kinley RD, G. Martinez-Fernandeza, M. K.Matthews, R. de Nys, M. Magnusson, N. W.Tomkin. 2020. Mitigating the carbon footprint and improving productivity of ruminant livestock agriculture using a red seaweed. Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 259,



Roquea B.M., J.K. Salwen, R. Kinley, E. Kebreab. 2019 . "Inclusion of Asparagopsis armata in lactating dairy cows' diet reduces enteric methane emission by over 50 percent." Journal of Cleaner Production.


Shukla P.S., Mantin EG, Adil M, Bajpai S, Critchley AT and Prithiviraj B (2019) Ascophyllum nodosum-Based Biostimulants: Sustainable Applications in Agriculture for the Stimulation of Plant Growth, Stress Tolerance, and Disease Management. Front. Plant Sci. 10:655. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.00655


Theuerkauf SJ, Morris JA, Jr., Waters TJ, Wickliffe LC, Alleway HK, Jones RC (2019) A global spatial analysis reveals where marine aquaculture can benefit nature and people. PLoS ONE 14(10):

e0222282. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0222282


GW 5-line array.JPG

Photo: David Bailey, WHOI

Click image to enlarge (from Duarte et al. 2017)

Climate Change and Seaweed Farming Duart