Globally, seaweed is the largest aquaculture production by volume at over eight million wet metric tonnes per annum (FAO 2003). Mostly this production is for traditional foods in Asia and the commodity markets of agar, alginates and carageenans. However, there is also untapped potential in smaller, high product value markets for nutritional and health applications. This is where Australia’s best investment in a seaweed industry may lie.
This RIRDC report presents findings that demonstrate an untapped potential for cultivation of a number of local Australian seaweed species, but it also identifies the challenges facing commercial-scale production. Importantly, it also provides evidence that Australia has the capacity and potential to undertake cutting edge screening and development of healthy seaweed products, in particular, products with nutraceutical and anti-cancer applications.