Seagriculture virtual conference to premiere in Asia-Pacific region

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The Seagriculture Conference is the leading annual seaweed industry event held in alternating locations since 2012. Now, they members are launching an online edition called Seagriculture Asia-Pacific 2023, that will be dedicated to the seaweed industry in that region. The event will take place on 8 and 9 February, and the new edition will supply industry knowledge on seaweed topics for a region forecast to grow threefold by 2029.

“With this new online edition, we are meeting the demand for more specialist knowledge in virtually every technical area of the seaweed supply chain in the region,” said Kuno Jacobs, Managing Director of DLG Benelux, the organizer of the Seagriculture Conference. The event will count with 23 expert speakers in market and technical trends, technologies, breeding and disease management, sales and marketing, and investment.

Organized by DLG Benelux with partners, the new Seagriculture Asia-Pacific conference will cover industry topics relevant for the region, from seaweed farming and mechanization to market trends and business development as well as breeding and disease management. Since its inception in 2012, the Seagriculture Conference has taken place annually in key locations of the seaweed industry in Europe, adding North America last year.

Increasing demand for seaweed

Driven by increasing demand for seaweed in industries such as pharmaceuticals, personal care, agriculture, domestic, animal feed as well as food and beverages, the Asia-Pacific commercial seaweed market is expected to reach nearly USD 16 billion by 2029.

“Due to an acute demand in North America for knowledge, we launched the Seagriculture conference in the US, which proved to be successful, bringing together experts from different parts of the world, honing in on regional issues. The Seagriculture Asia-Pacific will be another such event that promotes the sharing of industry knowledge. We will be hosting the first event online, to enable participation in multiple time zones,” added Jacobs.

Keynote speakers from FAO

In the event, will be presented keynote speakers Simon Funge-Smith, Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) regional office for Asia and the Pacific (Thailand); and Brian Von Herzen, Climate Foundation (Australia). They will present an overview of seaweed production in Asia, including trade and social challenges, hurricane-proven offshore seaweed mariculture and deepwater irrigation as well as climate disruptions.

“The Conference will have six session topics, ranging from smart farming technologies to seaweed nutriceuticals, some experts will explore the regional aspects of cultivation, processing, sales and business planning in kelp farming as well as technical trends and prospects for the future. Interactive discussions are an important part of all sessions over the two days.”

The Program of this online edition will offer three session topics on 8 February and other three on 9 February. The first one will be about “Smart seaweed farming”. Trends in seaweed farming, mechanization, new technologies and smart farming are topics covered in the session, starting with Shrikumar Suryanarayan, Sea6 Energy (India), presenting farming tropical seaweed as a scalable and sustainable future industrial feedstock.

On his part, Job Schipper, SWD Connectors (Netherlands), will discuss the scaling of seaweed farms, followed by Tran Dinh Luan, General Director of D-Fish (Vietnam), sharing his experience in seaweed farming.

“Second session will treat the issue of “Seaweed business/investment aspects”. Focusing on the business development of seaweeds, Paul Dobbins, World Wildlife Fund (US); Koji Yamamoto, Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), Japan; and Karlotta Rieve, Hatch Blue (Norway), will be sharing insights and ideas on new markets for productive, scalable and responsible seaweed farming.

The Session 3 will be a panel discussion about the “Current situation of seaweed in Asia-Pacific”. Moderated by Fionnuala Quin, Kelpy – Seaweed Biopackaging, Australia- the session’s three seaweed experts discussing the regional topics of cultivation permits acquisition, post-corona situation and health aspects of seaweeds.

In the panel will participate Maya Puspita, SELT Alga Indonesia and Indonesian Seaweed Association (ARLI) (Indonesia); Jo Kelly, Australian Seaweed Institute (Australia); and CRK Reddy, Institute of Chemical Technology (India).

Day two

In the second day, Session four will talk about “Seaweed breeding and disease aspects”. Focusing on seaweed breeding and disease management, Scott Lindell, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (US) will be presenting a selective breeding program to improve the productivity of sugar kelp. Nita Rukminasari, from Universitas Hasanuddin (Indonesia), will present the modeling of tropical seaweed cultivation, while Michael Roleda will discuss current eucheumatoid research in the Philippines.

The Session 5 will treat “Seaweed applications”, with the participation of Rob Kinley, from FutureFeed (Australia), that will present evolution through the story to the up-to-date status of Asparagopsis science. Jang Kim, of Incheon National University (South Korea) will present carbon dioxide removal (CDR) capacities of marine macroalgae and potential applications of macroalgal biomass using case studies from Korea. Pia Winberg, PhycoHealth and Venus Shell Systems (Australia), will present a range of nutritional profiles and biochemistry of seaweeds.

Finally, the Session 6 will have the topic of “Virtual seaweed tour around the world”, with Mitchell Lench, Founder of Ocean’s Balance (US); Stephanie Debels, SEACROPS, Belgium, Alejandro Buschmann, Universidad de Los Lagos (Chile); Josh Castle, Aboitiz Reimagine (Philippines); and Jorunn Skjermo, SINTEF. With this last one, Norway will present what their organizations are doing to improve seaweed production, propose possible ways of cooperation or innovative solutions.

The new Seagriculture Asia-Pacific conference will be closed by professor Catriona Hurd, University of Tasmania and co-chair of the 24th International Seaweed Symposium organizing committee.

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