Fields of sea lettuce

Texel I surrounded by a lot of water, as that’s the case for any island in the world. One tends to think that fish and seafood are the only things we can get from the sea, as salt water has been traditionally deemed useless. However, research carried out during the last years shows that salt water has a lot more to offer, a part from the fish and some marine animals that live in it and that are already a part of our menu.

Here I’d like to focus on another marine animal whose popularity has been increasingly growing, as Asian food has become available in western restaurants and shops. Of course, I refer to the seaweed. This alga is considered to be very healthy and, even more important than that, it has a high protein value. According to Wageningen UR Dr. WA Branderburg, in the future we will have to face a “large increase in the demand for new sources of protein”; instead of doing nothing and postponing this problem, it seems reasonable to start doing our homework in advanced, so that we can come up with a sustainable solution when need it, and as soon as possible.

To this respect, Dr. Branderburg points out in his Fields at sea article the necessity to start thinking of cultivating fields on the sea. It may seem weird at a first glance, but if you come to think about it, it makes sense. Why aren’t we already getting the most of the sea? If people have started eating insects –even the UN itself urges eating them as there are more than 1.900 edible insects that con provide us with a lot of protein- why shouldn’t we start eating algae as well?

Anyway, we first have to cultivate them, and Texel is definitely a good place to do so, for obvious reasons; but the right methodology needs to be found in advanced in order not to harm the sea. Let’s say, for instance, that we decide to use fertilizers for our fields of sea lettuce … would it make sense at all to poison the fish that we’ll still be fishing and eating, just for the sake of adding some sea lettuce in our menu?

Let’s look for the most sustainable and green strategy to cultivate algae on the sea without harming natural ecosystems, please. Dr WA Banderburg, who has been working on this field for many years, wants to use the nutrients from the sea to do so  and I do believe that’s a great idea.

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