OPTIMISING THE OPPORTUNITY
WE PROVIDE SOLUTIONS TO SUPPORT PUBLIC
AND PRIVATE SECTOR ORGANISATIONS IN THE
HARVESTING, PROCESSING AND SUPPLY OF SEAWEED
Are you serving in an industry
looking for seaweed solutions?
RUDDY&CO AIMS TO DEVELOP THE SEAWEED INDUSTRY AND INCREASE THE VALUE OF IRISH SEAWEED BY CREATING SUPPLY CHAINS WITH QUALITY ASSURANCE TO SUPPLY BOTH WILD HARVEST AND CULTIVATED SEA PLANTS OF VARIOUS SPECIES THROUGH MODEST SCALE MULTIPLE DRYING UNITS.
Management Consulting helps the world’s most significant organisations – public and private – quickly become more effective. We improve the way they operate; manage costs; better align people, process and technology initiatives; support business growth to maintain or improve competitive edge and complete market and regulatory risk assessment. In doing so, we focus on their agendas and the big issues they need to deal with, both today and in the future.
What we do for our clients is always focused on key business levers that make a difference. These include:
- Better align people, process and technology initiatives
- Managing cost
- Market and regulatory risk assessment
- Supporting business growth to build or maintain competitive edge
We’re constantly evolving, bringing new ideas to our clients and adopting new approaches driven by industry trends and management focus. Combining our deep technical skills in ways that respond to the rapidly changing needs of our clients is core to being a successful management consultancy.
OUR TEAM CONSISTS OF KEY SECTOR PROFESSIONALS WITH SIGNIFICANT EXPERTISE ALIGNED WITH SUPPORTING THE REQUIREMENTS OF OUR CLIENTS.
THE SEAWEED INDUSTRY CONTINUES TO GROW YEAR ON YEAR GLOBALLY AS AN EVER GROWING LIST OF DIVERSE MARKETS EXPLORE THE VAST POTENTIAL THIS ABUNDANT NATURAL RESOURCE CAN OFFER.
Seaweed or macro-algae refers to several species of macroscopic, multicellular, marine algae. The term includes some types of red, brown, and green macro-algae. Marine algae species such as kelps provide essential nursery habitat for fisheries and other marine species and thus protect food sources; ocean algae species from seaweeds to planktons play a vital role in carbon capture, producing up to 90 percent of the planet’s oxygen. Understanding these roles provides guiding principles for conservation and sustainable use of seaweeds to take precedence over industrial exploitation. Mechanical dredging of kelp, for instance, destroys the resource and dependent fisheries. Certain species of seaweed are valuable for nutrition, biomedicine, bioremediation, and other uses.
- Licensing: The issuing of licensing has proved to be a significant challenge due to Marine Spatial Planning, quality analysis, measurement of biomass, access rights, ownership of high/low tide, determination between aquaculture and wild harvest collection. Which political party has rights over regulation and determination of facts. Objections, handling, management and policing of licence
- Wild Harvest: The collection of sea plants from the shore or from boats can be either hand harvested (most used in Ireland and UK) however, recent debate over mechanical harvesting of wild stock has raised issues around the sustainability of certain species. Wild harvest can focus on a specific type of plant or be across a range of species and used for a range of applications, however there is at this time no quality assurance or quality control. Pollutants such as heavy metals, plastics, pathogens and invasive species can be found in some areas, harvesters would not be aware of such threats, or indeed to be able to measure the threat. Some species are now in the food chain without analysis, although the threat is small in Ireland and perhaps in the UK although there are great areas of concerns due to industrial run off. There is a gap in terms of monitoring, developing and working to established standards.
- Cultivation: Aquaculture of seaweed is a key area of development under global needs to address food, climate change and water shortages, however issues such as access, species being grown and for what purpose, location of site, depth and turbidity of water conditions (motion of waves and likelihood and impact of storms), moorings, harvesting, seeding capacity, quality assurance, establishing standards and policing for quality assurance and health and safety issues.
- Large Scale Aquaculture: As seaweed accounts for over 50% of the oxygen and absorbs CO2 emissions from the atmosphere, an area of consideration to address the excess levels of carbon in the atmosphere is to create large scale at sea farms of sea-plants to act as a carbon sink. The cultivation methods are well proven and documented, the absorption of CO2 indicates that the creation of such sites, whether free floating or moored to existing structures at sea (Gas and Oil platforms) would not just reduce carbon but the biomass could be used to generate green energy as seaweed has a high calorific content, there is also the consideration that moisture can be extracted and purified to create clean water.
- Historical Ownership of shoreline: Access to shoreline for either wild harvest or cultivation becomes an issue when land that is owned by individuals or entities that own to the high tide mark, which is the standard measure for land ownership, however, there are instances where land owners are claiming ownership to the low tide. Some historical documents have stated ownership to the low tide mark. This point is significant when considering the wild harvest specifically, as access to many species will fall between the high and low tide mark, land ownership does not always fit neatly with the foreshore license. Work has been completed in some areas of Ireland and Scotland to review documentation to establish clear ownership – in most of the UK the State (the Queen) owns from the high tide mark, although access to the shore could present problems for those seeking access.
- Policing: There have been instances reported and recorded globally, and many incidents not reported, of violence and criminal damage to both seaweed cultivators and harvesters. As debate and lack of determined leadership dictates who can grow or remove seaweed, from where and when, there is ambiguity. The method of dealing with incidents is to rely on local law enforcement, however, as there is often confusion the matter is seldom resolved to any satisfaction. Clear policy, penalties, communication, education and signage would go a long way to support this nascent industry.
Education: As the EU and indeed global attention is turning to ocean for cultivation of fin and shell fish, it is also focusing on the development of new technologies for seaweed aquaculture. Issues surround climate-change, fresh water shortages and food securities are becoming more relevant and education of the next generations needs to be addressed. New skills will be required in the future and as was evident by the popularity of the Blue Planet television broadcasts, we are still very much unaware of the ocean which occupies 70% of our planet, it was noted that we know more about space than we know about the ocean. As a member of the Irish Ocean Literacy Network it is an area of education that needs to be considered as a matter of priority as all levels from Primary to third level, both academic and vocational training.
- Large Corporates v SME/Individual licenses: Whereas, politically it would make sense to issue fewer licenses and support industry to stimulate market sectors. However, areas that would need to be considered would be the amount of biomass available, see below. Aramara, which is part of the Arcadia Group is being challenged through the American Courts system for over harvesting in Maine, the consequence of which has left the area barren. Individual and SME harvesting can include a variety of species many of which become stronger as they are harvested, much like land based plants some plants take years to grow, like trees, the Ascophylium can take up to five years to grow before being commercially attractive, this is the plant most favoured by larger industries, whereas, many of the reds and greens can replenish many times in the year, being stronger as they are cropped. The variability of the components within specific plants means that seasons will have impact of what can be collected and utilised, SME’s and individuals can adapt to meet seasonal changes and market demands whereas larger companies have invested in machines and equipment to process specific species and will take 100’s ton each day to feed hungry machines at the risk of damaging a delicate eco-system. SME’s and individuals find accessing funds to develop product ranges difficult due to unknown access to stock, the unknown levels of biomass and therefore an unknown production and output level, as global interest turns to seaweed there needs to focus on the support for both industrial volumes and awareness of environmentally safe quantities of stock to remove, also support to develop SME’s to create products using a range of species that are fully sustainable.
- Seasonality: Seasonality is also an issue for quantity, quality of plants and access, summer favours the reds and green plants and regrowth can be weather dependant, whereas the colder seasons tend to favour the browns. Many of the high value components are at their peak during specific months and collection or growth can be focused to suit various markets. Weather conditions will also impact on the access to many plants either cultivated or wild harvest.
- Biomass: At this time the ways in which biomass is calculated relies on satellite images and close tidal working, which is not 100% reliable as the satellite cannot effectively measure many species that grow together with other species, it is not uncommon to find large crops of Ascophylium with Bladder wrack, both plants have value but are very different in composition, however, to determine from satellite would prove to be a challenge. Not least for the fact that there is much cloud cover over Ireland for a significant time of the year and further that some species will move locations to feed of the upwelling of nutrients. Over harvesting can lead to barren areas within the ocean, as seaweed biomass provides a habitat for numerous sea dwellers, the shell fish and fin fish use the sea plants as food, habitat and mating areas, therefore, over harvesting would have a devasting impact on the entire marine eco system. Over 50% of the planets oxygen is produced by sea vegetation over harvesting would have a direct impact on CO2, a further impact would be that of rising tides, over harvesting can lead to rising sea levels as sea plants are noted for holding tides, estimation of a foot difference when sea plants are removed.
- Accountability: The amounts of various species removed from the ocean should be recorded and measured to ensure sustainability and an agency with determined responsibility and authority should be established with clear guidelines to ensure compliance. Quality of water should be recorded (this is most likely to already be monitored in most areas) and impacts of changes co-related to seaweed quality analysis. The quality of the products produced should be monitored by the various regulatory standards and there should be an accountability for the sector to regulate the quality of product output, the monitoring of water and record of stock being removed from where, when and recording any significant changes.
- Quality Analysis: The quality of water needs to be recorded and monitored in relation to the type and quality of various sea plants, some plants are known to absorb high levels of heavy metals. Analysis of the species by season/batch should be systematically recorded by region. The composition of the plants should be considered for suitability to the determined application, also for general use. The EU is currently working to establish systems and policies around the area of seaweed quality and quality assurance methodologies (I sit on this committee as an Irish Expert)
- Systems: The development of policy, communication, regulation, standards and education should be supported by systems that are informative and workable to ensure compliance. Measurements and co-relating data would serve to create a mapping system to track biomass, to assess quality of plants and water and to ensure that the continued development of the sector is fully sustainable.
WE OFFER A RANGE OF SERVICES TARGETED AT SUPPORTING PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTOR ORGANISATIONS ACROSS EACH STAGE IN THE HARVESTING, PROCESSING AND SUPPLY OF SEAWEED.
- Feasibility studies
- Market research & demand planning
- License applications and negotiation
- Corporate strategy
- Community engagement
- Local authority and government body liaison
- Logistics and operational strategy
- Sourcing & procurement
- Business process management
- Research & development
- Marketing & distribution strategy
- HR & recruitment
- Learning & development
Novo Technologies Limited
50-54 St Paul’s Square
Tel: +44(0) 121 212 9106