sustainable cultivation

seaweed innovation in the EU

Zeewaar is the first company in the Netherlands that produces and exclusively works with sustainably cultivated seaweed from clean sea water in the EU. The result is a beautiful premium seaweed product, in terms of taste, nutritional values, color, and a tender bite. We don't compromise on these important food criteria.

Where in 2013 we started with the first havest yielding a few hundred kilograms, we scaled up to thousands of kilo's in the years since. We had to give it our all to get it off the ground, but it paid off and we are proud to be the pioneers that succeeded in helping to create seaweed cultivation in Europe. We will further scale up over the coming years. Zeewaar also collaborates with other sustainable seaweed farmers that are active in the EU.

With the increasing demand for seaweed (an average 10% p/y according to the FAO), it is of crucial importance to cultivate seaweed, and to do this in a sustainable manner. Sustainable means to cultivate without using ANY compounds anywhere during the process, such as pesticides and manure. And with a scale that ensures a healthy balance in the local nutrient levels of the sea. Cultivation means the process of planting start material, or baby seaweed, in the farm and have the harvesting only take place there. This process ensures we leave the natural seaweed beds in peace to perform their important ecological roles.

reap what you sow

Seaweed has an important role in the oceans and seas of our planet. It is the rainforest of the seas and oceans. It stores C02, it produces oxygen, it filters the water by taking in nutrients, it acts as a nursery for life under water, and it protects coastal zones against erosion. The practice of wild harvesting removes this underwater rainforest without replanting it. Our seas and oceans are vast, and they appear powerful and healthy, if you don't look under the surface. But they are  fragile ecosystems, in which man kind have caused significant damage already. Sustainable cultivation of seaweed is important because it is designed to operate in harmony with the ecosystem, and even to restore it.

As one of the worldwide pioneers in sustainable seaweed farming, we know firsthand how hard the challenges really are in building this new crop. Currently, around 99,7% of all seaweed taken from EU seas and oceans is ripped from natural seaweed beds, removed without replanting. The FAO calls that practice "wild harvesting." It counted an estimated (FAO) 227 million kilos seaweed in 2014, and this volume is growing with 10% every year. That means that by 2017, over 300 million kilo's natural seaweed beds will be removed that year. Without replanting any of it. Wild harvesting takes place in Ireland, Norway, Sweden, England, Scotland, France, Spain, The Netherlands, and many other countries that are currently not being tracked. At this rate, we will steal over 400 million kilo's seaweed from nature in Europe by 2020. Or, we can stop this increase now and replace it with sustainably cultivating the seaweed. Your seas and oceans will be happier, healthier, livelier, and the local communities will have an alternative, one that they can run and own.

Zeewaar The first seaweed farm in The Netherlands