There have been a few changes happening at Slate Islands Seaweed. The main one is that Slate Islands Seaweed is now a trading name for Caledonian Seaweeds Ltd. There has not been some corporate take over or anything like that. Duncan has just been joined by some new folk who have a keen interest in bringing the benefits of different seaweeds to people. Here I will outline what that means.
The main change is that Caledonian Seaweeds Ltd are the main company, Slate Islands Seaweed now continues as a trading name, focused on running the foraging trips, education and public outreach (cooking demos and talks). Really the only thing to have changed is the name and that there is now properly a team. The focus is now on developing some kind of seaweed aquaculture, specifically the kelp species dabberlocks (Alaria esculenta), oarweed (Laminaria digitata) and sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima) as feed stock for the development of biodegradable packaging from a low carbon renewable resource as well as providing for the growing demand for these species for food (obviously, like to cook with all three!). Our future aims include developing seaweed aquaculture for other species such as the green seaweed sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca) and dulse (Palmaria palmata) and who knows maybe even carrageen (Chondrus crispus).
Combined with this, there is likely to be a growing demand for different seaweeds and products derived from their different. To start with, there is already a growing demand for products derived from the kelp species we are looking to grow. More than could be harvested from the wild stock without potentially significantly impacting our wild populations and the ecosystems they support, more than one farm could grow (again without potentially having a negative impact on the marine life in the farm area). With the west coast and its islands having some of the best waters and superb coastlines for the potential of small but economic scale farms, we are looking at ways to help enable people who live and work in our rural coastal areas who are interested in seaweed farming to try and diversify the local economy of these areas whilst also helping towards not just a solution to a material problem with packaging but also helping increase the carbon capture potential of our waters and of Scotland as a whole.
And that is why there has been a name change, as the aims have just become that bit grander, building on the ethos that I started Slate Islands Seaweed with: trying to bring different seaweeds to people, to diversify what people ate and help encourage people to harvest and grow seaweed, with the social component of wanting to create jobs.
Slate Islands Seaweed will continue as a name, and the seashore foraging and seaweed cooking demos will continue, as it is something I firmly believe in, sharing the wonders that can be found on our seashore.