'Seaweed plays a key ecological role in coastal ecosystems and can be used for various applications. The development of the seaweed aquaculture sector can help to address global challenges related to human health, human consumption and sustainable circular bioeconomy. The applications are various from medical, cosmetics, food, animal feed sectors to agriculture (as a biofertiliser) and aquaculture development.'

'The global seaweed industry has a total estimated value of €8.1 billion per year and is continuing to expand (Bixler and Porse 2011; FAO 2016). Yet the rapid expansion of this industry can have unforeseen ecological and societal consequences. The lack of biosecurity measures and global legislation governing the cultivation and movement of seaweeds between regions and continents has been identified as one of the main challenges to tackle in order to safeguard a sustainable seaweed industry (Cottier-Cook et al. 2016).'

'Markets show increasing interest in seaweed resources and their potential role in European Blue Growth and Bioeconomy. The development of seaweed aquaculture thus involves, in the medium and long term, the expansion of cultivation at sea due to the unlimited space offered by the latter. However, offshore cultivation may bring meaningful impacts on the environment and on biodiversity owing to the risk of escape of propagules with the potential to affect local genetic biodiversity.

To support the sustainable development of seaweed aquaculture, all stakeholders – industry, farmers, researchers and policy- makers – must collaborate to establish European strategic-development plans.'

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