Irish growers hope seaweed will supply Japanese market

Rathlin Island kelp supplier filling gaps left by Fukushima disaster

Mon, Jun 9, 2014, 00:38

Rathlin Island off the Co Antrim coast is an unlikely potential supplier of edible seaweed to Japan – a country whose own stocks have been hit by the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Mother and son team Kate Burns (pictured) and Benji McFaul’s Ocean Veg Ireland is growing thousands of tonnes of kelp on ropes that extend out from the shoreline into the sea around Rathlin.

They have found conditions are optimum for growing the fine species used in traditional Japanese miso soup and the thicker variety used in noodle recipes.

“Due to the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, a lot of the seaweed production in that part of the world has been closed down,” said Ms Burns.

“Combine that with the growth of the Asian population who eat seaweed, plus the growth in the European population who now are interested in seaweed, and sushi is a big growth market.” (PA)