articles photography: Milene Bezemer / Sea Ranger Service

New partnership for offshore seaweed

19 Nov 2019 | Sea Ranger Service

A new partnership has been announced between the Sea Ranger Service and the North Sea Farm Foundation to drive forward the development of offshore seaweed farming in the North Sea. The new partnership was announced during the recent inauguration of our new Sea Ranger ship SV Fantastiko and focuses on piloting the effectiveness of sailing work vessels to maintain offshore seaweed farms, which may prove a clean, sustainable and cost-effective alternative to using motor vessels.

During an upcoming pilot, Sea Rangers will assist the North Sea Farm Foundation with monitoring and light maintenance work at its testing facility, the North Sea Innovation Lab, located just over 5 nautical miles off the Port of Scheveningen. The North Sea Farm Foundation has been working since 2014 on the development of a sustainable offshore seaweed sector in the Netherlands.

Koen van Swam, general manager of the North Sea Farm Foundation: “The demand for healthy and plant-based food, as well as renewable resources, is increasing. Seaweed can provide in this demand because it is one of the most sustainable crops to grow, is nutritious and has many other renewable applications.” From seasoning bread to clothing and bioplastic. Seaweed cultivation is a vital building block of the new circular economy. “This collaboration is a great initiative,” says Van Swam, ”because we can use sustainable monitoring in our offshore lab. That is why we join forces with Sea Ranger Service to work on a sustainable offshore seaweed sector in the Netherlands!”

For the Sea Ranger Service, the new collaboration is another step in the technical validation of the variety of offshore tasks the Sea Rangers and their special sailing work vessels can effectively carry out. Founder of the Sea Ranger Service, Wietse van der Werf, is enthusiastic: “We are excited about the potential for this collaboration. It is a pioneering union, focused on getting seaweed production, a healthy, low-impact alternative to intensive agriculture, scaled up in the North Sea. We are proud that the Sea Rangers can play their role in this innovation.”

The North Sea Farm Foundation has been piloting offshore seaweed cultivation in the North Sea since 2016.
Seaweed from the North Sea Farm Foundation’s test location being harvested in 2018.