Pilot cultivation of seaweed in Greenland

Sweet kelp is seeded on lines in the laboratory. Growth is fast after the lines have been placed in the fjord.
This is the same line five weeks later, in the middle of June. Photos: Ole Geertz-Hansen

Various species of seaweed grow along the entire coast of Greenland. Seaweed can be used directly for human consumption and can be used to obtain a wide range of substances for the food and cosmetic industries. The harvest and sale of seaweed is a possible new source of income for Greenland. There is a growing interest in harvesting seaweed, and in recent years licenses have been granted to harvest small amounts. Kelp forests serve as a habitat and nursery many different animals including species of commercial interest. Hence, harvesting on a large scale can possibly damage economically important species.  There are no  experience from Greenland in this area, and only a limited amount of knowledge can be gained from other arctic regions.

The Greenland Institute of Natural Resources is in the process of expanding its knowledge of harvesting and cultivating seaweed, and its knowledge of seaweed distribution in general. Initial studies are focusing on the cultivation of selected species on lines as an alternative to harvesting seaweed growing in the wild. We are looking into testing and adapting methods that are well known and work well under temperate conditions. At the same time, we are studying the seasonal variations of diverse nutrients, in both cultivated and wild varieties of seaweed.

For further information, contact Ole Geertz-Hansen.

Updated 03.10.2016