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B.T. Young Scientist 2014.

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An Investigation To See If Bantry Bay Could Become A Seaweed Product Producing Area.

 

By

Aoife Cotter and Emma Cotter

OVERVIEW OF OUR PROJECT.

Our project aimed

To investigate the different types of seaweed in Bantry Bay, the possibility of extracting the natural harvest, and the potential of this seaweed in various forms.

As we progressed into this project, we discovered that there are more than 400 different species of seaweed in the Bay and so we focused on the six most abundant species which have the most commercial potential. These species are: Laminaria Digitata,

Fucus Vesiculosus,

Fucus Serratus,

Laminaria Hyperborea,

Ascophyllum Nodosum

Fucus Spiralis.

We investigated each type of seaweed and researched what industries are utilising them. We researched the 2 different ways of harvesting seaweeds: 1. by hand 2. mechanically. We concluded after many interviews with seaweed and marine specialists that all the seaweed types apart from the two kelps could be hand harvested. The 2 kelps (Laminaria Digitata and Laminaria Hyperborea) should be mechanically harvested.

We carried out a feasibilty study to see if our proposal was achievable in terms of capital, land availability, machinery to harvest and process seaweeds, and labour. We also had to investigate if there was a market for seaweed.

By the end of our project we hoped to prove that seaweed harvesting and processing is a realistic business for the area.

The bottom line is that seaweed is in demand and that this demand is growing stronger. Ireland, according to the report by B.I.M done between 2007 and 2013 says that “The identified opportunity is to increase the value of the Irish seaweed sector from €18 million per annum to €30 million per annum by 2020.”

We know that Bantry Bay has the potential to be a part of this value increase.

 

seaweeds

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