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Seagriculture 2019

8th International Seaweed Conference

"Seaweed Success Stories"

25-26 September 2019, Ostend, Belgium

Helena Abreu, Managing Director, AlgaPlus, PT

"Cultivation of red seaweeds in Portugal" 




Helena’s wish to work at sea and the news in the 90s that Portugal’s future would be based in aquaculture drove her to study Marine Biology at the University of the Azores archipelago. While diving within the amazing underwater Macaronesian biodiversity, she got into the macroalgae/seaweed world. The will to couple ecology, sustainability, seaweed, aquaculture and society got her interested in the Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) concept. Helena started working on that from 2004, during her PhD developed between Portugal, USA and Chile. From there she went to Ireland, always performing applied research in a business environment, on the aquaculture of seaweed at sea or in land-based systems, coupled with the production of fish and/or mussels.

In 2012, Helena returned to the Aveiro region and co-founded the SME ALGAplus-Produção e Comercialização de algas e seus derivados, the first European company selling seaweed produced in an organic certified land-based IMTA system for the food and cosmetic international markets.

Helena is very active in disseminating the value of seaweed and working towards its sustainable exploitation. Helena is currently the vice-president and president elect of the International Seaweed Association Council and the co-founder of the Association for Portuguese Algae Producers (PROALGA).


ALGAplus seaweed farming activities kicked off in May 2012. The location of the seaweed farm was chosen mainly due to the optimal abiotic conditions at the site, which potentially allowed the year-round production of the green Sea-lettuce and the red Atlantic Nori (Porphyra dioica and Porphyra umbilicalis), Ogonori (Gracilaria gracilis) and Dulse (Palmaria palmata). It all started by performing a SWAT analysis, including cultivation trials, for those (and other…) algal species with potential to be farmed in a land-based IMTA system located in Portugal and with demand in the food and cosmetics markets. The year-round production was proven possible for some species that are already sold in the EU market as well as integrated in new food, feed and cosmetics product development. This presentation will take you through the main phases of this ongoing process, relevant results and forecast for the next years regarding the production of red seaweed in Portugal. 

Keywords: Red-Seaweed, Land-based, Nori, Dulse, IMTA

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