DiveBorneo Bulletin No. 1-0202

Seaplants are essential to life as we know it...
70+ % of the planet is covered by water - 97% of water is in the oceans and seas

Here are some facts of life...

Seaplants provide the basis for ocean productivity including the fish, shellfish and other animals that much of humanity depends on for food.

Seaplants such as seaweeds, mangroves and sea grasses stabilize the shorelines of our land masses and provide habitat for many of the seafood species that we depend on.

Seaplants have a multitude of direct and derived uses that benefit humanity in vital functions such as nutrition, health care, personal care, manufacturing and agriculture.

Seaplants, big and small (phytoplankton and macrophytes) are photosynthesizing organisms that provide much of oxygen in the air that we breath - they also consume potentially toxic gases such as carbon dioxide.

A summary of facts about the seaplant economy...

More than half of seaplants come from sustainable aquaculture - an opportunity for thousands of coastal people.
The global market for seaplants is very conservatively estimated at over two million tons of seaplants valued at seven billion US dollars per annum. Since many seaplants and their products are exchanged in local markets there are no statistics kept and actual market volumes are probably many time this.
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Major seaplant products include human food, animal feed, plant food, food supplements, food ingredients, personal care preparations, wellbeing products, medicines and process aids.
The world has more than 200 useful seaplant species distributed among more than 150 bodies of water. Thirty countries/territories possess over 80% of the world's seacoast... most are significant seaplant producers. Currently there are 214 countries or territories in the world that have seacoast (click to list). Of these  42 have reports of commercial seaplant activity and these are included so far in the DiveBorneo GIS.  The top ten countries/territories in terms of coastline length have 63% of the world's total of 531,864 km.

The top ten producing countries contribute 96% of the world's commercial seaweed volume of over two million tons. About 50% of world production is cultivated. The seven top seaweed farming countries produce 99% of the volume. East Asia and Western Europe predominate.

About 70% of world seaweed production is accounted for by Lithothamnion spp. + Phymatolithon spp. (a.k.a. maërl; as wet weight ) and Laminaria spp. (a.k.a. kelp, kombu or hai dai; as dry weight). The "top ten" genera comprise more than 95% of world production. About half of the over 2 M tons/yr produced is from cultivation. Laminaria spp. accounts for over 60% of the total while Porphyra, Kappaphycus, Eucheuma, Undaria and Gracilaria make up most of the rest to a total of 99%.
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