New seaweed feed project could create $140m industry in Australia

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The South Australian Government has partnered with aquaculture firm CH4 and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) to launch a game-changing research program involving seaweed being included in livestock fodder.

The project will investigate the production of commercial quantities of red seaweed, which has been found to significantly reduce methane emissions created through a cow’s digestive process when included in feed.

Acting Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the project could see South Australia become a centre of excellence for seaweed production.

“If there are opportunities to cost-effectively reduce ruminant methane production by converting it into energy to drive enhanced animal productivity, this represents a win-win,” the Acting Minister said.

“The seaweed market reaches far beyond feeding cattle, as seaweed can be used as a sustainable food source for humans and in eco-friendly bio-plastics, fertilizer, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. There’s strong potential for this to be a key growth sector for our state.

“The livestock farming sector is the third-largest source of greenhouse gas globally after the energy and transport sectors, so this work could be a game-changer for the environment as well.”

CH4, which is working with the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) to develop trials, believes the project could lead to a $140 million new industry in South Australia within three years and potentially support up to 1,200 local jobs.

“The potential to develop a multi-billion dollar future-proofed aquaculture industry is a unique opportunity for South Australia and this will move the needle on global climate change,” said the company’s co-founder, Dr Steve Meller.

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Image credit: https://www.ch4global.com/