We tried to establish an overview of the seaweed grant funding landscape. It’s not an exhaustive summation, but with more than 275 grants from the era 2015-2021 in the dataset, we hope to give a sense of where the priorities sit.
The general trend is one of more grant money for seaweed research and capacity building, with a step change in 2018.
For the past 5 years, the main focus for governments in seaweed aquaculture’s new territories is the development of the knowledge and infrastructure necessary to support large-scale seaweed mariculture. A secondary focus is on conservation and seaweed applications research.
Policy and permits
Across the globe, people are urging policy makers to pay attention to the seaweed industry. In places where seaweed aquaculture is new, the focus is on getting lawmakers to reduce the burden of regulation to start an aquaculture operation.
To this end, an avalanche of reports was produced in 2021, trying to bring home the benefits of seaweed aquaculture in for instance Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Alaska, Kenya, Ireland, for restoration projects and investors.
Some progress was made in 2021. In the United States, seaweed aquaculture was legalised in the state of New York, and a bill was introduced to aid kelp forest restoration with $50 million per year. In 2022, the adoption of the EU’s algae initiative might prove a step forward.
For countries where seaweed aquaculture is an established industry, like Indonesia, Philippines and Tanzania, the opposite is true. Here, 2021 saw an urgent appeal for these countries to tighten up biosecurity policies and improve genetic diversity.