Seaweed research project gets going

Flinders University researchers are supporting the production of a methane-busting seaweed supplement for livestock.

Perth company SeaStock Pty Ltd has become Western Australia’s first licensee granted permission to commercially sell a native seaweed-based livestock feed supplement that drastically reduces methane.

Awarding of the licence from global patent-holder FutureFeed gives the company market access to sell Asparagopsis, a naturally occurring red seaweed, for processing into a supplement which reduces methane from ruminant livestock by more than 90 per cent.

SeaStock Managing Director Mr Tom Puddy says the company’s research and commercialisation ambitions were strengthened by the licence agreement as interest in Asparagopsis grows globally.

“This is a huge milestone for SeaStock and WA, which is in the box seat to establish itself as a leading player in the burgeoning native seaweed industry,” Mr Puddy says.

SeaStock Managing Director Mr Tom Puddy with samples of the red seaweed and livestock pellets.

“The science behind the methane-reducing power of Asparagopsis is strong and proven to achieve significant environmental benefits through reducing carbon emissions.

“Reducing methane in animal production enables meat and dairy producers to meet growing demand from low-carbon food consumers.”

Flinders University researchers, led by Professor of Aquaculture Jian Qin, will collaborate with the WA company on their production and processing techniques.

Granting of the licence makes SeaStock one of only three licensees in Australia and six globally, and was executed in record time from FutureFeed, which works with partners to deliver supply chain access.

The licence allows SeaStock to focus on sampling, cultivation and growth trials across multiple coastline sites from the Kimberley to WA’s South Coast while it undergoes further capital raising.

“There is a fantastic opportunity to create a value-adding bridge between aquaculture and general agriculture,” Mr Puddy says.

“An expansive marine environment, strong regulation and compliance, leading technical expertise and job creating revenue streams can set this industry on a sustainable growth trajectory.”

Professor Jian Qin and postdoc researcher Dr Thanh Hoang Hai with a sample of the WA Asparagopsis to propagate in the Flinders University lab as part of the SeaStock project.

SeaStock is working on research and development-driven programs in tandem with Australian universities and four regional Aboriginal corporations with access to suitable production areas off WA’s coast.

It has several advanced aquaculture lease agreements, including 300ha at the Abrolhos Islands, off and a growing list of industry offtake partners ready to participate in the supply chain once cultivation and processing of the supplement commences in 2022.

The partnership with Flinders University began in early 2021 when SeaStock started scoping out an effective research, development and commercialisation strategy.

Since then, the team has worked on a feasibility study and has scoped a plan to deliver an effective technical solution for production, market entry and commercialisation by SeaStock.

 

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