The conservation of our oceans and the tragedy of the millions of tons of plastics that pollute them is an issue that, thanks largely to Sir David Attenborough and the campaigning efforts of environmentalists, is rightly receiving worldwide focus.
And in Yorkshire, a pioneering commercial farm off the Scarborough coast, the first offshore seaweed farm in the UK, could be part of the solution, by harnessing one of the country’s natural resources and using it to produce biodegradable plastics as well as products for the pharmaceutical, textile and cosmetic industries.
Now SeaGrown, the company behind it, is also leading on a new project, dubbed the nation’s first offshore scallop farm. Supported by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, the firm has secured funding for a trial to cultivate scallops and oysters within the seaweed farm.
It is hoped that it will demonstrate how offshore farms can sustainably grow multiple species in one location and with minimal impact on the sea floor - in contrast to dredge fishing techniques typically used to harvest shellfish.
Dr James Wood, fisheries manager at the Wildlife Trust, is absolutely right in his sentiments about new approaches to aquaculture. “They need to be carefully designed to ensure they’re sustainable and balance their impacts with the conservation of our seas,” he says.
Indeed, it is for this reason that the trial is of great importance nationally and for the health of the planet. And it is yet another example of how Yorkshire is making use of its resources and leading the way in marine industry developments.