Interview with Car-y-mor

Translating to ‘For the Love of the Sea,’ Car-y-mor is a farm unlike many you’ve seen before. For a start, this farm requires zero inputs (no fresh water, fertiliser, feed or land), it sequesters carbon and nitrogen and produces the most sustainable form of food production on the planet. Car-y-mor is a seaweed and shellfish farm on the coast of Pembrokeshire and is providing a solution to the land-based food production crisis. Land-based agriculture contributes to 24% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than transportation (11%) and just as much as burning fossil fuels (25%). Ocean farming could be a key player in solving the climate crisis. But what does a working seaweed farm look like? And what’s it like to work on one? We caught up with Car-y-mor to find out.

How did you first find out about seaweed farms and what attracted you to working on one?

Car-y-mor: We as a family all have a great love/connection for the sea. So when we started looking onto what we can do for out bit in the fight for a better environment and education. We can across something IMTA (Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture). Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture provides the byproducts, including waste, from one aquatic species as inputs for another. Simply put one’s waste is another food. Biomimicry in essence. We thought that would make a very interesting project.

What are the common misconceptions about seaweed/seaweed farming?

Car-y-mor: Not so much a miss conception I think, but more a lack of facts. The Carbon Capture debate. Seaweed is an amazing resource that can do so many things: reduce our reliance on land use, fertilisers and pesticides to grow food. reduce our reliance on petroleum-based plastics, clean up seawater from excessive nutrients, provide habitat for other sea animals, etc. I think that is already a lot. Is there also room for carbon capture. Yes, I think so, but in conventional seaweed farming, perhaps less than some people would hope for. I think the Oceans 2050 research that is supposed to come out in June this year will clear up a lot of confusion in this sense.

What is a typical day in the life of working on a seaweed farm?

Car-y-mor: At the moment for us, we are preparing for harvest. But typically it’s keeping an eye on the farms and making sure the seaweed and shellfish are doing good and growing well. Which they most certainly are! Having the farms in Grade A waters that are very rich in nutrients have shown how quickly the seaweed can grow! During the winter there were a few boat trips out in some not so nice weather, to drop more anchors to secure the farms. This is a first for us, so we are learning every day. Every time we are out at the farms we are doing environmental monitoring so that we can build a record and have something to show for what these farms are creating in terms of bio diversity

What is your favourite seaweed type and why?

Car-y-mor: I’d have to say sea spaghetti. Mix some crab and chilli into it and you have your self a very tasty dish.

What is the future of seaweed?

Car-y-mor: There is so much that we are still learning about seaweed. But I think the future is very exciting. Bio plastics, great food, fertilisers. And who knows if there’s some more innovative ways that we can use seaweed? I really hope so! I think it is becoming a much discussed topic and with that innovation will follow. I really do think that seaweed can help us solve a lot of human problems. 

Thanks Car-y-mor! If you’d like to know more you can check out carymor.wales or follow them for some excellent pictures of seaweed farming on instagram @car_y_mor