Ecological Studies Volume 219, 2012, pp 471-493
Date: 27 Apr 2012

Seaweed and Man

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Seaweeds have been utilized by man as food and medication for about 14,000 years. The ever rising demand for edible seaweeds and for biochemical components of seaweeds, mainly hydrocolloids like agar, alginate, and carrageenan, has fuelled a large aquaculture industry particularly in Asia. Future expansion of seaweed culture will include suitable farming sites in offshore areas associated with wind farms. Seaweeds as extractive and therefore bioremedial species are moreover an important component in Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA), where commercially valuable organisms of different trophic levels are combined in a culturing system resembling a small ecosystem. The employment created by seaweeds and other aquaculture secures an income to millions of people and is therefore of high socioeconomic importance.