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Seaweed snack innovator creates ‘underwater garden’ to build sustainable business



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When Ash Sutton realised the seaweed rising on his farm off the West Australian coast had an identical texture to lolly snakes, he began enthusiastic about his subsequent enterprise transfer. 

“It is such a cool-looking product. I believed I will not refine it, I will not course of it, however would not or not it’s good if that really tasted like a lolly,” he mentioned. 

It has been 4 years and brought “a variety of chequebooks” however he’s about to launch two seaweed-based merchandise as alternate options to lollies and jerky. 

The method of reworking the purple spinosum into edible merchandise is a intently saved secret.

Mr Sutton says the merchandise include “nothing synthetic” and are sweetened with honey collected from his farm at Greenough, simply south of Geraldton. 

“It is straight from just about the ocean within the mouth,” he mentioned. 

“It is gone by means of rigorous shelf-life assessments … authorities purple tape has been laborious work, however [with] persistence … it’s totally thrilling to have the ability to get it to the patron.”

A close up of seaweed based products in plastic packaging.
The seaweed has been developed into lolly and jerky alternate options.(Equipped: Ash Sutton)

Mr Sutton’s seaweed farm sits within the southern group on the Abrolhos Islands, a rugged windswept coral archipelago, 60 kilometres off the coast from Geraldton. 

Howling winds and swell have made for a troublesome farming journey to search out the stability between the seaweed getting sufficient daylight and shelter from the robust ocean currents. 

“You see the chilly fronts arriving and also you come out the following week and all of your stuff is unfold out off the strains. I’ve needed to transfer my location a few occasions due to the climate,” he mentioned. 

However the isolation of the Abrolhos makes the water pristine, and superb for seaweed manufacturing.

Return to the islands

Mr Sutton lived in Asia for 10 years the place he observed “seaweed was nearly on each menu and a standard a part of life”. When he returned to Australia he determined to attempt his hand at seaweed farming.

A pile of purple/red seaweed in the foreground, in the background a man leans on a shack door.
Ash Sutton has spent the previous 4 years creating a seaweed farm on the Abrolhos Islands. (ABC Rural: Joanna Prendergast)

It was a homecoming, after spending his earlier years working within the business fishing trade across the Abrolhos Islands. 

“I believed, effectively, buggered if I will go business fishing. I nonetheless like to work on the ocean and I would like to do a sustainable enterprise for the surroundings and the ocean,” he mentioned. 

After acquiring a allow to seize 50 kilograms of untamed seaweed inventory and he started his farming operation. 

“It is like a giant underwater backyard and after 4 years of diving and taking a look at seaweed, you type of work out, grasp on a minute, it isn’t rising so good right here and it solely works underneath that quantity of sunshine and the quantity of coral,” he mentioned. 

“After it grows out to a sure dimension, which is about three months, I will come alongside and harvest the cuttings, and it will nonetheless continue to grow.

“So it is actually sustainable. It is like you do not contact the surroundings ever once more.” 

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