The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) and partners in the UK, Asia and the United Nations University have presented the GlobalSeaweed SUPERSTAR project to address the biodiversity crisis in global seaweed stocks.
The project, funded by the UK’s Global Centre on Biodiversity for Climate (GCBC), involves leading seaweed scientists and industry experts and will be launched at COP31 in 2026 to urgently protect wild stocks.
According to SAMS, wild seaweed communities will lose up to 71% of their distribution by 2100 due to overharvesting or climate-related impacts. Over six million seaweed farmers across 56 countries, most of them in Asia, depend on seaweed.
Experts like Prof Juliet Brodie from the UK’s Natural History Museum and Prof Lim Phaik Eem from Malaysia’s University of Malaya are participating in the project. The Global Centre on Biodiversity for Climate has promoted this initiative to fund research addressing climate change and poverty reduction.
Project leader Prof Elizabeth Cottier-Cook of SAMS said: "By establishing our ‘Seaweed Breakthrough’ based on robust scientific research, we hope to set out policies that can be adopted at the highest intergovernmental level to help safeguard wild stocks and, ultimately, safeguard the global seaweed farming industry."
In addition, Professor Gideon Henderson, Chief Scientific Adviser, UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, confirmed: "We are very excited to announce the first round of grant award recipients through the Global Centre on Biodiversity for Climate (GCBC) in partnership with RBG Kew and DAI Global UK. This is a significant milestone and the first step towards delivering climate solutions for vulnerable populations by working in partnership with organizations across the Global South to harness nature’s potential to enhance climate resilience and improve livelihoods."