Seaweed as a Natural Resource

Seaweed as a Natural Resource
Sea Grapes (Aulerpa lentillifera)

The summer issue of the Nature Conservancy magazine contains an interesting article about the value of seaweed. Overfishing, pollution, ocean acidification, and global warming combine to make life difficult for people living in coastal areas who depend on fishing. The use of seaweed is a solution to much of this, and researchers are making significant progress in advancing seaweed as a natural resource.

Growing food in the ocean is more efficient than raising it on the land. There is no need to worry about water or fertilizer because seawater has all the nutrients needed. There are collateral benefits as well since many marine species depend on seaweed to reproduce.

Companies extract carrageenan from seaweed and use it in the production of cosmetics, foods, and medicines. More than 25,000 people are employed in farming seaweed in Tanzania, and extensive training programs are teaching local farmers how to farm seaweed in their coastal waters. 

There is reason to be optimistic about the future. We are learning to use all that God has given us to radically increase our food production, and the work of farming the ocean is leading the way. Not only does seaweed provide food directly to humans, but it can be dried and used as food for cattle, sheep, and goats. Seaweed also helps the planet by reducing the carbon dioxide in the air and increasing the oxygen content. 

The diversity that God has built into the creation allows us to overcome the problem of feeding a growing population while finding ways to reduce pollution. Seaweed as a natural resource demonstrates once again that creation is not a cosmic accident but designed for advanced human life. 

— John N. Clayton © 2021