Seaweed delegates descend on Oban

Delegates at the Scottish Seaweed Industry Associatiion conference in Oban. Photograph: Iona Young

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The Scottish Seaweed Industry Association held its fourth annual conference at Corran Halls in Oban this week.

A variety of scientists, business people and researchers attended, all with the common interest in strengthening and advancing the Scottish seaweed industry.

The conference was split into four parts: understanding how to expand the scale of seaweed farming, integrating seaweed into existing aquaculture, valuing seaweed cultivation in its environment and the possibilities to develop seaweed as a tool for eco-efficiency.

Dr David Smallman, from Slate Islands Seaweed at Easdale, said: ‘It’s
amazing. The conference has gone from 40 people four years ago to 162 today. It grows every year.’

Many guest speakers and specialists attended, including people from Russia, Alaska, the Netherlands and Norway.

Seaweed is one of most popular development products for SAC Consulting.

It boasts nutritional and health benefits and harvesting seaweed has great commercial potential in Scotland. Packed with minerals, protein, fibre and vitamins, and low in calories and fat, seaweed is not only good for your health but recent research has suggested a seaweed-rich diet can counter depression and potentially mitigate Alzheimer’s disease.

A member of the research team at Exeter University, Sophie Corrigan on her first time at the conference, said: ‘From the research side, meeting people from all aspects of the industry especially is brilliant. Because it’s such a niche industry, it is so important for us all to get together.’