Seagriculture EU

18 - 20 June 2024

Tórshavn, Faroe Islands

How to upscale seaweed farming on the Faroe Islands: integrating and finding the balance between benefits and limits

Sophie Koch, Researcher, Sjokovin / Blue Resource, Faroe Islands

About the speaker: 

Sophie is a marine environmental and coastal researcher specialized on seaweed farming, focusing on topics at the intersection of natural and social sciences. In her PhD Sophie is determining the carrying capacity of an (eco)system for seaweed cultivation, focusing on the ecological and social perspective. Seaweed farms are living a renaissance these days and high claims are made about their potential. But how we can realistically use seaweeds’ potential, and how we can cultivate them in a sustainable way, is what Shopie is focused on right now. 

Company info:


Blue Resource is a private, independent, not-for-profit research center based in the Faroe Islands. Their vision is to foster sustainable development and innovation in fisheries and aquaculture through provision of knowledge services and participation in international research projects to transfer knowledge to and from the Faroe Islands.


The market demand for seaweed is growing and there is a critical need to understand the environmental and socio-economic impacts of scaling up seaweed cultivation. Understanding the risks and benefits allows to determine a sustainable scale for upscaling, a carrying capacity for cultivation. Today in a growing industry, ecological, social, and economic sustainability all need to be considered. With limited space, scarce resources and conflicting industries, policy makers and local governments need to make choices on how to sustainably develop their coasts and industries, while keeping the environment safe and having social acceptance and economic stability. We propose the interdisciplinary concept of carrying capacity to define the limits of acceptable change and to support the sustainable and inclusive growth of the seaweed sector, looking at ecological, social, and economic aspects. 

This pitch will present the theoretical framework that is needed to define the notion of the seaweed carrying capacity with specific indicators, threshold, and barriers. Data collection, from the SeaMark project, on ecosystems services forms the basis for this assessment and will also be presented.