A practical guide to global seaweed farming

In 2022 we conducted an in-field survey with seaweed farmers across the major seaweed producing regions globally. This report provides insights from our on-the-ground research of the top 5 commercially produced seaweed species today.

Why seaweed? 

Over the past fifty years, commercial seaweed farming has grown into a $16.7 billion industry. Driven by an increasing pressure on food and feed supplies, the need for biological alternatives, and a growing understanding of the unique properties of seaweed, new innovations have fostered momentum and excitement about seaweed’s potential globally.

Innovators along the value chain are eagerly scaling up seaweed production and developing new applications using seaweed biomass. However, there are important lessons to be learned from the existing industry, and millions of people are dependent on seaweed as a primary source of income.

How to use this platform

Our global production pages provide an overview of seaweed production worldwide and introduce the major commercial species, their utilisation and their unique supply chain setup.

Our farm insights section holds first-hand information that we collected from more than 100 farm visits across the largest seaweed production hotspots globally. This offers practical insights on the reality of the seaweed cultivation industry today. Besides farms, we also visited input suppliers, local collectors and traders, processors and exporters, alongside research institutes, industry associations and government agencies to get the bigger picture of the supply chain.

Explore the seaweed cultivation system step-by-step, with insights from 100+ in-field interviews:

Watch the video below, to get an insight into the reality of the seaweed cultivation industry today

At least 98% of global seaweed production comes from Asia, where China, Indonesia, the Philippines, North and South Korea, Japan and Malaysia have the longest tradition in seaweed farming.

Although more than 12,000 species of seaweed have been described to date, five species varieties make up 95% of global seaweed production both by volume and value.

 Read more about the methodology of our field work and this report here, before diving into the individual species pages and their farm insights. 
We thank the Nest for their support, without which this project would not have been possible. The Nest is a Belgian family office with the mission to contribute to a more resilient food system that is healthier, fairer, and better for the environment. They invest and support initiatives across sustainable aquaculture, regenerative agriculture, and low emission proteins. To learn more about the their work, visit the Nest website.