amie Radford writes in the Illawarra Mercury that Pia Winberg, from the University of Wollongong, believes that the South Coast of New South Wales, Australia (NSW) is in an ideal position to become a world leader in aquatic cultivation. Dr. Winberg promotes the idea that local aquatic industries such as algae and seaweed cultivation have a range of applications, from sustainable seafood and medical implants, to fuels such as diesel or ethanol.
“The South Coast is home to some of the most unique seaweed in the world,” Dr. Winberg said. “We have hundreds of miles of coastline and the water is clean and clear. We are in an ideal position to take advantage of this technology. Aquatic cultivation is a $5 billion industry worldwide, yet Australia hardly contributes to that at all.”
Dr. Winberg recently co-hosted the 5th Congress of the International Society for Applied Phycology, which was held in Australia for the first time. The Congress brought together experts from around the world to debate the viability of using algae and seaweed as an alternative source of food and biofuels.
The use of seaweed – one of the most nutritionally dense plants in the world – as a food alternative was debated at the gathering. And although some foods, including ice cream and soft cheeses, contain seaweed gel, western countries need to be more open to the idea of seaweed as a food source, suggested Dr. Winberg.