Seaweed farming is a fairly new type of business in the Netherlands. Organic certification of cultivated seaweed is therefore new.
A number of requirements have been set out in organic legislation for the cultivation of organic seaweed. An organic seaweed company must demonstrate in its business plan how it complies with these requirements. A company that produces more than twenty tonnes of fresh seaweed per year must conduct an environmental assessment, either once only or whenever a change is made to the company’s business system. The environmental assessment must be based on Annex IV to Council Directive 85/337/EEC.
Choice of location
Organic seaweed may only be farmed in coastal waters of a very high ecological quality. The Dutch production regions for bivalves are taken as a starting point. It is also possible to cultivate seaweed in land-based facilities provided that this does not have negative consequences for the surrounding environment.
In order to maintain genetic diversity, you must regularly add juvenile seaweed that has been collected in the wild to farm locations both on land and at sea.
Fertilizers and nutrients
You are not permitted to add fertilizers to coastal or natural waters.
Nutrients may be added in land-based facilities provided they are specified on the input list and the nutrient levels in the effluents are not higher than those in the inflowing water.
The input list is a list of products that have been evaluated and which are permitted for use in the organic sector. Skal uses FiBL Switzerland for the evaluation. As aquaculture is a new sector in which different inputs are used than in agriculture, it is advisable to quickly submit the desired inputs for evaluation by FiBL. Suppliers and producers of inputs for aquaculture submit a request for evaluation of their product to FiBL and enter into a contract with FiBL. They are charged for the costs of the evaluation.
An organic seaweed farm must have insight into the maximum amount of seaweed that the environment can handle. The size of the harvest must be such that it does not cause the aquatic environment to suffer. The cultivation density must be recorded. The remaining seaweed must be able to regenerate after the harvest.
You can read more about the basic requirements in Article 13 of Regulation (EC) No. 834/2007: basic legislation (PDF). Articles 6, 25, and 29 of Regulation (EC) No. 889/2008: provisions governing implementation (PDF) contain most of the requirements for seaweed production.