Galway seaweed harvesters extend their reach with licence for Australia
Seaweed harvested off the coast of Galway is being processed and exported as a feed ingredient for salmon, pigs, sheep and pets all over the world.
Powdered seaweed produced by Ocean Harvest Technology at a plant in the village of Milltown is exported to Canada, the UK, Scandinavia and Asia and the firm has just secured a licence to sell its product in Australia.
Set up in 2010, Ocean Harvest is owned by Dutch native marine biologist Dr Stefan Kraan and his business partner, Patrick Martin from Dundalk.
The pair's initial business success was in producing seaweed powder as an ingredient in food for farmed salmon.
However, the company has recently expanded into the area of feed ingredients for other livestock and pets.
It now employs 10 people at its Galway plant and runs a sister plant in Ho Chi Min City in Vietnam.
"After our success in the aquaculture sector we decided to look at agriculture and we saw that the pig industry has massive markets all over the world, especially in China," said Dr Kraan.
"We ran our trials regarding adding the seaweed to pig feed from weaning stage to fattening stage and the results were stunning.