Natural England currently advise on a range of seaweed gathering and aquaculture enquiries and advice is given by specialists on the specific enquiry / application using the best available evidence and knowledge, using the precautionary principle.
The aim of this contract was to increase understanding of the methods used for mechanised harvesting and seaweed aquaculture, potential environmental effects or impacts, potential management measures, and to develop recommendations for best practices. A key part of this project was to highlight evidence gaps and identify how these can be addressed.
This report includes the introductory section and methods and two main evidence sections: Section 3 aquaculture of seaweeds and Section 4, mechanical harvesting of seaweeds. The report concludes with a final summary section on knowledge gaps, recommendations and conclusions. A list of invasive non-native seaweeds (INNS) that may be present in the UK and that might be considered for aquaculture is presented in Appendix 1. Further assessment information for INNS is provided in Appendix 2 (habitat and UK distribution) and Appendix 3 (ecosystem and socio-economic impacts).