Royal Greenland’s business development manager Nikoline Ziemer has been cultivating seaweed at a test base in Maniitsoq since the autumn of last year and it wasn’t until the spring of this year that she was able to see how successful her efforts had been.
‘My jaw dropped when I saw it was packed with sugar kelp,’ she said, explaining that she had been looking into this since 2015.
After several years of researching several seaweed growing and harvesting seaweed projects across the Nordic region, she chose to go for a seaweed cultivation programme. She decided against harvesting wild seaweed as cultivated seaweed has purer qualities, and because harvesting it in the wild damages the seabed and requires a great deal of post-harvest processing.
On the other hand, cultivating seaweed takes time as this begins with a controlled process under factory conditions. Plants are fertilised in tubs before being placed in the sea. Initially, Nikoline Ziemer did not expect a 100% success rate – and in fact expected a poor harvest, instead of the promising crop she actually got.
‘There were both sugar kelp and winged kelp in large quantities and in beautiful rows – and I spent a lot of time harvesting it,’ she said.
‘The eventual aim is to grow seaweed that can be sold overseas. In the long term I’d like to grow 40 tonnes, although 100 tonnes per year would be ideal. But we’ll see how the 2020 trial period goes,’ she said, commenting that she is already preparing for the next season.