Seagriculture EU

18 - 20 June 2024

Tórshavn, Faroe Islands

Seaweed aquaculture in Aotearoa New Zealand

Johan Svenson, Science Impact Manager, Cawthron Institute, New Zealand

About the speaker: 

Dr Johan Svenson is Cawthron’s Science Impact Manager and a natural products and biopolymer chemist whose research has focused on gaining value from nature and has led to fundamental advances in the fields of marine natural products, biotechnology, medicinal chemistry, biomaterials, peptidomimetics and antifouling. Johan has worked in the space of marine natural products for nearly two decades and has spent nine years in the Artic (Norway) bioprospecting for high-value compounds marine organisms. He later moved on to become research manager (chemistry and materials) at RISE research Institutes of Sweden before being recruited down to Cawthron and New Zealand in 2019. Here Johan leads Cawthron’s development of a sustainable New Zealand algae sector by exploring collaborative R&D programmes to enable seaweed aquaculture, generate algal based products, novel bioactives for commercial applications, as well as analytical standards. Johan has extensive experience developing applied research with industrial stakeholders focusing on the growth and valorisation of both seaweeds and microalgae.

Company info:


Cawthron Institute is New Zealand’s largest independent science organisation. They deliver world-class science that helps to protect the environment and support the sustainable development of primary industries in New Zealand and worldwide. Their near 300 staff focus is entirely on marine and freshwater research with a significant team devoted to aquaculture and realizing the potential of algal resources.


In New Zealand, there are massive marine resources yet to be realized within the seaweed space. Despite having one of the largest EEZs in the world, less than 2% of GDP comes from the ocean. With estimates of up to 1500 species of seaweeds in New Zealand waters, Aotearoa New Zealand remain an algal treasure chest that they have just started to sneak a peek into. The current presentation will shed some light on what the plans are for the emerging New Zealand seaweed industry and will further highlight areas open for collaboration.