The Seaweed in East Anglia project team at the Showcase event. From the left: Isla MacMillan (Cefas), Elisa Capuzzo (Cefas), Rikke Nagell-Kleven (Hethel Innovation), Sheng Qi (UEA), Gill Malin (UEA) and Richard Heal (Cefas).

The third week of January 2024 was a busy one for the SEA project team. During this week, we delivered two events in Norfolk to discuss what we are working on and spread awareness about the many opportunities with seaweed.

The first session was delivered on Tuesday, the 16th of January, at Wells Maltings in Wells-next-the-sea, aimed at the local community in North Norfolk. At the ‘Community Opportunities: North Norfolk’s Emerging Seaweed Industry’ event, the SEA project partners – Hethel Innovation and the University of East Anglia, presented about the project and its aims and how a seaweed industry could benefit North Norfolk and our region. The event also included a talk from local seaweed farmers – Norfolk Seaweed, an aquaculture business dedicated to sustainably producing Saccharina latissima (Sugar Kelp) in the North Sea just off the Norfolk coast. The event concluded with an opportunity to ask questions about anything seaweed- or SEA-project-related, which resulted in some exciting conversations and actions we will look to implement in future work. We had a great turnout from local schools, businesses and residents, and we hope everyone learned something new about seaweed and the prospects a seaweed industry has in Norfolk.

SEA project partner Colette Matthewman from UEA speaking about skills and jobs in the seaweed industry at the community event in Wells-next-the-sea.

Local seaweed cultivator and Chief Executive Officer of Norfolk Seaweed, Willie Athill, talked about how they are farming seaweed and how it will affect the local environment.

The second event of the week was the ‘Seaweed in East Anglia – Project Showcase’ held at Hethel Engineering Centre on Thursday, the 18th of January. This was an excellent opportunity to showcase what we have been working on with the project and celebrate the achievements made so far. During the session, all project partners – Hethel Innovation, Cefas and the University of East Anglia – presented their findings towards the goal of supporting the development of a sustainable seaweed aquaculture industry in Norfolk and the East of England. The event also included the premiere of the SEA project video created by Treefrog, which you can now find on the SEA project website and YouTube. A special thank you to Expresso Cafe Norwich, who created a fantastic seaweed-themed lunch menu for us. This event saw good attendance from organisations working across the seaweed value chain and brought interesting discussions about future projects and priority areas to support the industry.

Isla MacMillan, Elisa Capuzzo and Richard Heal from Cefas presented in depth about seaweed species, farming methods, and co-location opportunities.

Sheng Qi from UEA gave an inspiring talk on mapping key facilities for seaweed R&D in Norfolk.

The SEA Project Showcase event also featured hand-picked goodie bags with items produced with cultivated seaweed and a seaweed-themed lunch.

If you missed these events, we will also be at the upcoming Norwich Science Festival (17-24 February 2024) with an activity stand titled ‘Seaweed Innovations Helping Our Environment’ on the 23rd. Later that day, we will also be sponsoring ‘The State of Our Oceans: Charting a Sustainable Course‘ panel talk featuring SEA project partner Gill Malin. The panel consists of top marine scientists, conservationists, and academics, who will consider some of the key issues affecting the earth’s marine ecosystems – from pollution to the rise in global temperature. This event is taking place from 6pm – 7.15pm at the Production Theatre, Norwich University of the Arts, so do come along if you are interested in learning more about our ocean’s most pressing challenges and how we can become part of the solution. We hope to see you there!

The Norwich Science Festival is taking place from the 17th to the 24th of February 2024 at the Forum in Norwich.

Thank you to Norfolk Investment Framework, Norfolk County Council, who made the SEA project and the events mentioned possible.