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Spectacular Seaweed: Surprisingly Versatile

Seaweed has been a part of life in Cape Breton for as long as people have been on this wonderful island, and is used in many different ways. While no longer an export due to concerns of over harvesting, seaweed still has lots of uses for us here at home.

One of the most popular uses of seaweed here is fertilizer. Many locals will use seaweed as a part of their garden beds, layering it under the soil. It is also popular for layering over garlic crops. Scientists are still trying to figure out if seaweed could potentially replace manure in the future.

With seaweed potentially replacing manure in gardening, it's worth mentioning other environmental impacts that seaweed could have. There have been studies conducted in Scotland that suggest using seaweed as sheep feed reduces the methane they emit, meaning we could potentially lessen climate impact from livestock. There have also been trial runs for seaweed-based plastics, making them a biodegradable option for the future. Like many other plants, seaweed is also great for absorbing carbon from the atmosphere, as well as nitrogen from ocean pollution.

Seaweed cultivation can also create many jobs through the farming of the plant itself and its effect on the fish population. Cultivating seaweed “forests” can not only help remove pollution from the ocean, it also provides a home for fish to lay their eggs and promotes a diverse aquaculture.

Seaweed is also used in food around the world. While incredibly popular in Eastern Asia, it has also been used in parts of Europe in the past. In Japan seaweed is used in many dishes like soups, rice balls and sushi. It makes a great nutritious addition to smoothies as well. Written by Kyle Zinck, Summer 2023

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Thank you for this valuable piece of information. Seaweed is a gift to those who live and garden/farm near the sea.

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