Common seaweed strains for consumption
While mainly consumed in Asian countries, seaweed products are starting to enjoy popularity around the world. Global seaweed aquaculture production now occupies about 20 percent of the total world marine aquaculture production by weight. Seaweed aquaculture production is dominated by relatively few species namely the brown kelps and the red seaweeds.
Different seaweeds / kelp
Pyropia is a genus of red alga found around the world in intertidal zones and shallow water and commonly used to make “nori” – a dried edible seaweed used in Japanese cuisine and often used to wrap rolls of sushi or onigiri. It has the highest commercial value per unit mass at $523 per wet metric ton. (In case you are wondering why nori is green but made from red alga, when added to boiling water (100 degrees C) the other pigments in the seaweed melt and dissolve leaving behind the bright green chlorophyll).
Kelps are large brown algae seaweeds that grow in underwater forests in shallow oceans. Along the Norwegian coast, these forests cover 5800 km2, and they support large numbers of marine animals. Kelp fetches $141 per wet ton.
Gracilaria (red algae) are found in warm waters throughout the world, though they also occur seasonally in temperate waters and cannot tolerate temperatures below 10 degrees C. Gracilaria fetches $273 per wet ton.
Kappaphycus is a genus of red algae with species distributed in the waters of East Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Micronesia, and Hainan Island. Kappaphycus fetches $172 per wet ton.
Sargassum is a genus of large brown seaweed that floats in island-like masses, never attaching to the seafloor. They can be found in shallow waters and coral reefs. Sargassum fetches $460 per wet ton.
Read our blog: Why we need to tackle our sargassum issue