[UK] SWANSEA’S proposed new tidal lagoon could signal a sea change in the seaweed market according to a Gower family business.
Penclawdd-based Selwyn’s, which specialises in cockles and laverbread, is set to develop a seaweed farm inside the lagoons sea walls in a pioneering move. If successful it is thought the process could help home produced edible seaweed products take on the world market currently dominated by Asia.
Ashley Jones said: “I was looking at ways of revamping the laverbread market and went out to Japan. It’s a massive business in Asia and its the same seaweed we have in Wales.
“All the sea weed in Asia is farmed and I looked at ways of bringing that back to Wales.”
When Mr Jones heard about plans for the lagoon he saw a huge opportunity.
He said: “The lagoon will form a safe haven around the nets to stop them washing away. It becomes more than just an energy source.”
He added that their current Penclawdd headquarters would be used to process the crop. He said: “We will grow the seaweed on nets in the lagoon and harvest them on boats and take them around to the factory in Penclawdd and sell the product to the world.
“If lagoons take off around the country we could seriously challenge the Asian market.”
A spokeswoman for the tidal lagoon said: “We are really excited to be developing mari culture opportunities associated with the lagoon. We are big fans of Selwyn’s and look forward to progressing the conversations with them.”
The move signals the latest chapter in the 50 year plus development of the family firm.
Mr Jones said: “The company was started by my grandfather. His mother and grandmother picked cockles and seaweed in Penclawdd and then they would walk to Swansea market to sell them. When Selwyn’s father died in a mine accident he left school and went to help his mother, he was probably the first man to become a cockle picker.
“He later bought a little van which he used to sell cockles and laverbread.”
View original article at: Seaweed farm proposed for tidal lagoon could help local laverbread take on dominant Asian products