The world faces tough environmental challenges. To achieve what is required, we need more biomass as raw materials for food and renewable energy. The capacity on land is limited and the attention is now turning towards the sea. Ocean Forest is a partnership between the environmental foundation Bellona and the seafood producer Lerøy Seafood AS. The company is looking at how large-scale biomass production can be achieved under the sea surface. The goal is to capture and use marine nutrients, for example by cultivating fast-growing seaweed and mussels. A good location is near fish farms, where the share of nutrients in the water is higher. The circle is then closed by grinding up and using harvested mussels and algae in fish feed.
Seaweeds are full of proteins, minerals and antibacterial substances, and Ocean Forest will produce everything from food and feed to bio-fuels and fertilisers. At the same time, seaweed cultivation can help reduce CO2 in the atmosphere and counteract marine pollution and acidification. Ocean Forest is also looking at off-shore seaweed cultivation along the Norwegian coast, where the share of nutrients is higher than close to the shore and there is a lot of space available. Or why not grow seaweed to clean the sick and overfed Baltic Sea?
The interest in seaweed cultivation is high. The major challenge is to build up the industrial productionplants needed to make the biomass manageable. Lerøy has started a company for commercial production of seaweed, based on the knowledge and technology acquired from Ocean Forest.