Food safety during seaweed cultivation at offshore wind farms: An exploratory study in the North Sea.

Abstract: 

Multi-use in ocean space, and seas, entails the co-location of different industries or technologies and their corresponding activities that take place at the same time in a specific location. This concept focuses on finding solutions to tackle global challenges in food security. However, the effects that seaweed cultivation at offshore wind farms may have on food and feed safety are less readily addressed. This study examined whether currently available food and feed safety standards for seaweed can be applied to multi-use activities at sea. The focus was on the combined use of seaweed cultivation at an offshore wind farm in the North Sea. Literature regarding hazards in seaweed was screened, and standards were evaluated. Expert elicitation on seaweed cultivation was retrieved via in-depth interviews and a workshop. Results showed that although some food safety hazards may be more apparent for seaweed cultivation such as toxic metals (e.g., arsenic, cadmium) and iodine, others may become relevant when considering multi-use (e.g., allergens, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, toxic metabolites). Key factors for food safety include the location of seaweed cultivation, handling and processing of seaweed, and seaweed testing. Public standards, the Food Safety System Certification 22000 standard, and the Marine Stewardship Council/Aquaculture Stewardship Council standard are recommended for the food and marine sectors to consider when determining standards to implement. This case study provides an example of how to address seaweed food and feed safety in a multi-use scenario in the North Sea. We recommend additional case studies for other multi-use at sea scenarios.

Sea Basin(s): 
Year: 
October 2020
Application in MSP: 
Unknown effect
Sectors: 
Aquaculture
Offshore renewable energy production
Type of Issue: 
Coexistence of uses
Cross-border cooperation
Environment aspects
Safety aspects
Social aspects
Type of practice: 
Study
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Stocktake
Cross-border / trans-national aspect: 
Yes
Coherence with other processes: 
Integrated Coastal Zone Management
Marine Strategy Framework Directive

QUESTIONS THIS PRACTICE MAY HELP ANSWER:

  • What food safety aspects should be considered during seaweed cultivation at offshore wind farms?

IMPLEMENTATION CONTEXT:

This case study provides an example of how to address seaweed food and feed safety in a multi-use scenario for the North Sea. The authors recommend performing additional case studies for other multi-use at sea scenarios.

ASPECTS / OBJECTIVES:

This study aims to examine currently available food and feed safety standards for seaweed production and to determine whether these can be applied to multi-use activities at sea that aim to make use of seaweed for food and feed purposes. The focus of this study was the combined use of seaweed cultivation at offshore wind farms in the EU with an exploration in the North Sea. Questions regarding (i) which food and feed hazards arise and (ii) which standards are relevant to manage food and feed safety concerns were addressed.

METHOD:

Materials and methods applied in this study included: the literature review, expert elicitation, interviews and a workshop.

MAIN OUTPUTS / RESULTS:

Results showed that although some food safety hazards may be more apparent for seaweed cultivation such as toxic metals (e.g., arsenic, cadmium) and iodine, others may become relevant when considering multi-use (e.g., allergens, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, toxic metabolites). Key factors for food safety include the location of seaweed cultivation, handling and processing of seaweed, and seaweed testing. Public standards, the Food Safety System Certification 22000 standard, and the Marine Stewardship Council/Aquaculture Stewardship Council standard are recommended for the food and marine sectors to consider when determining which standards to implement.

TRANSFERABILITY:

The methodology developed in this study is applicable to various marine regions.

Responsible Entity: 

Wageningen Food Safety Research (WFSR), Part of Wageningen University & Research, The Netherlands.

Wageningen Economic Research, Part of Wageningen University & Research, The Netherlands.

Costs / Funding Source: 

The work was co-funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation under grant no. G\100123.

Contact person: 

J.L. Banach: jen.banach@wur.nl