Friend of the Sea Certifies SeaExpert for Sustainable Seaweed Production in the Azores.
Friend of the Sea, the global certification standard for products and services that respect and protect the marine environment, has recognized seaExpert for sustainable seaweed production. Therefore, seaExpert can now display the Friend of the Sea label, certifying the engagement with sustainable marine practices.
SeaExpert, a company created in 2003 in the Azores archipelago, is a seaweed producer. It supplies clients with algae biomass for various uses, including cosmetics, supplements, livestock feed, and scientific research.
The absence of pollution and the rough seas of the Azores provide the ideal conditions for a product of excellence.
Seaweed, the generic name for different marine plants and algae, has been described as a game-changer. Filled with vitamins, minerals, proteins, and amino acids, it has immense potential, not only for human health but also for the planet. Including seaweed in cattle feed has the power to offset ruminant methane emissions, a gas that contributes to the greenhouse effect.
Friend of the Sea certifies companies that respect sustainable seaweed harvesting and farming. This standard aims to protect from overfishing wild seaweeds, which serve as a crop and as a habitat for hundreds of other ocean species.
In the past four years, SeaExpert has supplied Asparagopsis to eight different countries, delivering algae to several research institutes, universities and private companies, in a joint effort to find a viable solution to combat climate change.
The Azores, a Portuguese archipelago located in the North Atlantic Ocean, has a natural abundance of numerous algae species. SeaExpert identified the benefits of each specimen and developed a sustainable production process from harvesting to drying respecting the Friend of the Sea guidelines.
SeaExpert is licensed to harvest nine different species of algae, using sustainable techniques to have minimum impact on the marine ecosystem while supplying a high-quality product.The seaweed is harvested manually through scuba diving within seasons with the highest bioavailability rates.
The algae are dried in green houses or solar dryers, being monitored throughout the whole process. Once dried, the seaweeds are carefully weighed, packed, and stored.
Once dried in the sun or in the dark, the customer can also choose to receive their biomass in its natural form (whole) or grinded in different granulometries.
“The protection of the ecosystem through sustainable practices is at the core of our company,” said a seaExpert’s spokesperson. “Achieving the Friend of the Sea certification represents a milestone as well as an encouragement to continue working.”
SeaExpert algae are an excellent component for the cosmetic industry. Scientific research has found that seaweed has hydrating and exfoliating benefits, as well as unique healing properties for people with acne, rosacea, and skin sensitivity.
“Seaweed production has boomed in the last years. Supporting companies involved in this emerging and promising sector to implement sustainable practices is crucial,” said Paolo Bray, Founder and Director of Friend of the Sea.
In order to guarantee the quality of the algae, they are carefully cleaned immediately after harvesting to remove any by-catch and return it to the ocean. Afterwards, they are taken to the SeaExpert's facilities to be processed.
The core criteria of the Friend of the Sea sustainable seaweed certification are:
• No impact on critical habitat.
• Water monitoring.
• Prohibition of using hazardous substances.
• Energy management.
• Social accountability.
About Friend of the Sea
Friend of the Sea, a World Sustainability Organization project, awards sustainable practices in Fisheries, Aquaculture, Fishmeal, and Omega-3. The organization promotes pilot projects related to restaurants, sustainable shipping, whale and dolphin-watching, aquaria, ornamental fish, UV creams, etc. It is the only sustainable fisheries certification program recognized and supervised globally by a National Accreditation Body.
Founded in 2003 in Faial, Azores, seaExpert lives the fishery in its various strands. Created to support Azorean Artisanal Fishing, SeaExpert quickly extended its activity outside the region.
Unique in the services they offer in Portugal, the company develops continental or faraway fishing projects all across the Atlantic Ocean. With a strong scientific background, SeaExpert has gained more experience along the way through competence, rigor and entrepreneurship spirit.
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