A baseline studies programme for sustainable and resilient seaweed cultivation in Faroese fjords

Susse Wegeberg, Agnes Mols-Mortensen, Kasper Hancke, Gunnvør á Norði, Gunhild Borgersen, Birgitta Andreasen

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


The overall aim of this report is to provide an overview of the most relevant environmental effects and potential impacts on the marine environment related to seaweed cultivation in the Faroe Islands. The report is based on standard Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) principles and the identified environmental impacts were evaluated for their relevance and significance for cultivation in the Faroe Islands. The work is based on actual and ongoing cultivation activities characterised as small to medium sized farms (20–150 ha), and a compilation of previous results and experiences from the Nordic countries including the Norwegian KELPPRO project and available reports and scientific literature.

The report includes a number of potential effects and impacts that have been identified and addressed according to their expected significance. These include potential changes in light conditions, oxygen concentrations, nutrient and carbon dioxide availability, potential changes in hydrography, as well as effects from cultivation on natural seaweed communities. Further, the report addresses potential disturbance from noise on wildlife, effects on natural seabed communities, potential pollution from emissions, and discharges, as well as release of organic material from the farming activities.

From this scoping of potential environmental impacts from seaweed cultivation in the Faroe Islands, a baseline programme is suggested. The suggested baseline programme aligns with the recommendations from the KELPPRO project but includes amendments according to the newest information and is weighted towards Faroe Islands conditions and natural parameters.

Such a baseline programme, and a consecutive monitoring program, is needed to safeguard a future sustainable and resilient seaweed cultivation in Faroese fjords. The suggested baseline programme is a first step in this direction, and may contribute to development of a management strategy and monitoring of seaweed cultivation activities in the Faroe Islands.

This report presents an implementation plan for a baseline studies program. The plan involves identifying existing relevant data for the Faroe Islands and suggesting studies that could fill the knowledge gaps related to the environmental baseline, specifically focusing on the (genetic) biodiversity of and within the natural seaweed stock. This includes: (1) Mapping the biodiversity of the natural seaweed stock, (2) Population genetics of seaweed species most suitable for farming, (3) Biodiversity of associated fauna in the natural seaweed beds. Our assessment suggests that these studies address the deficiency of information regarding environmental elements susceptible to irreversible impacts from seaweed cultivation activities. Therefore, prioritizing efforts to address these aspects is recommended.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
PublisherNordic Council of Ministers
Number of pages46
ISBN (Electronic)9789289377522
ISBN (Print)9789289377515
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2024

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