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FARMING in Pembrokeshire could expand from land to sea if a marine licence is granted for a seaweed farm off the coast of Tenby.

An English company, Seaweedology, has applied to Natural Resources Wales for a licence to grow seaweed, mainly kelp, on ropes in the water five kilometres south east of Tenby and three kilometres north east of Caldey Island.

The Seaweedology Seaweed Farm would cover approximately four hectares with the company’s aim to develop a “sustainable aquaculture facility” growing native kelp for human consumption.

Seaweed farming is a growing business in the UK with other sites already established in Devon, Dorset and Scotland, with offshore, deep water, farming also in development.

Seaweedology’s application for Pembrokeshire waters states that the site was chosen “after an analysis using geographic information systems software to ensure as little overlap with protected areas as possible.”

The company is working with Green Ocean Farming, a company which has helped set up seaweed farms elsewhere, with the cost of this project estimated to be around £25,000.

Seaweed is a nutritious food source for humans and also provides habitat and food for marine life as well as reducing carbon levels in the sea Green Ocean Farming state.

The application is for a five year licence from December 2020 to December 2025, with seeded line installed in October or November to grow over winter ready for harvesting over two weeks in March or April, depending on sea surface temperature.

A report supporting the application explains that six anchors will form the outline of the farm, marked with yellow flashing buoys and orange boys at intervals on the perimeter rope with seeded ropes strung from north to south through the interior of the farm at ten metre intervals.

These will have grey buoys attached to stop them sinking any lower than three metres as the seaweed grows.

The lines will be taken up after every harvest but the marker boys and weights will remain in the water for the duration of the licence, the report adds.

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