Seaweed Aquaculture: Greening Australia’s Blue Growth

Organizer: Scott Spillias
Format: Onsite-Online, Afternoon

The global expansion of seaweed farming in the oceans promises to deliver many diverse benefits that will move us closer to achieving several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, the development and growth of seaweed aquaculture presents numerous environmental, social and economic considerations, including proper farm site management, selecting environmentally and economically viable species, monitoring and mitigating impacts, and ensuring equitable supply chains, that may have deleterious costs across the SDGs if not adequately identified and addressed. It is thus necessary to i) identify key considerations (including benefits, threats, costs, and opportunities ) and ii) conceive how a seaweed farming agenda might be created to aid transformation towards achieving the SDGs. This workshop – “Seaweed Aquaculture: Greening Australia’s Blue Growth” – will bring together researchers and experts from a range of disciplinary backgrounds to build a conceptual model of the system dynamics of expanding the seaweed farming industry in Australia. A systems thinking approach, as proposed here, is well-suited to identifying pathways to societal transformation and explicitly evaluating synergies and trade-offs that can allow integrated action on the SDGs. Building upon the outcomes of two stakeholder workshops held in Brisbane and Tasmania earlier in the year, the aims of this session will be (i) to introduce participants to the stakeholder engagement tool of community-based system dynamics, (ii) to draw on input and insights from the diversity of attendees at SRI2020, (iii) to highlight opportunities for collaboration between different disciplines and knowledge forms (i.e. policy, industry, farming practice), and (iv) to identify ‘next steps’ for industry development and research. This work will be important to the co-production of an agenda for the nascent seaweed aquaculture sector in a way that ensures sustainable development benefits flow to all Australians.

Themes: Integrated Action for the SDGs, Knowledge-to-Action, Sustainability for Who?