Pilot Installations for Macroalgae Cultivation

Rymättylä & Tvärminne, Finland

macroalgae_tvarminne_303x148In the Baltic Sea, nutrient enrichment enhances growth of filamentous macroalgae, making their harvesting and cultivation an interesting option for nutrient removal. Algal biomass may be used for a variety of purposes like production of biofuel, fertiliser or animal feed.

The potential of cultivating macroalgae in the Finnish coast was explored using polyethylene rope and nets as substrata. Seasonality of macroalgae community development was followed in 2011–2012 at two locations: in the proximity of a fish farm in Rymättylä and in control area with minor human impacts in Tvärminne.

Macroalgae belonging to 6–7 main taxonomic genera were identified. In Tvärminne, Cladophora was most common while in Rymättylä also Ceramium and Polysiphonia were very common. Maximum biomass, 7 g dry weight per meter of rope, was observed in Tvärminne. Compared to the biomass of mussels and barnacles attached to the rope (150 g per meter) this is a relatively low yield.

For collecting bulk biomass, cultivation of macroalgae in the northern BSR does not seem feasible. Key challenges include: low production compared to workload, vulnerability to stormy weather conditions removing algae from substrata and the need to lower the installation to the bottom for winter period. For nutrient removal, collection of natural macroalgae or cultivation of mussels seem more efficient. Cultivation methods for macroalgae may, however, be optimised for special purposes.

Logo SYKEFurther information:

Jukka Seppälä
Finnish Environment Institute – SYKE
Marine Centre
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