The growing of sea vegetables is a huge industry in the far east, and they are an essential ingredient in peoples diet, modern plagues like diabetes and cancer are consequently less prevalent. Here in Europe the Roaring Water Sea Vegetable Co-op was the first seaweed farm in Ireland and a pioneer in the field of seaweed farming. The techniques of sea vegetable propagation have evolved over the last 15 years under the auspices of Bord Iascaigh Mhara.
West Cork is blessed with a suitable climate and clean water for many indigenous species. My daughter and I came to live here on the shores of Roaring Water bay in 2002, to begin with we used the wracks washed up on the beach as fertiliser in the garden, later we learned how to use Carragheen moss to make puddings and keep colds and sorethroats at bay, ‘cowtang’ or hijiki at the top of the intertidal zone to roast for seasoning, and serrated wrack to put in baths for a natural silky skin tonic.
As the building boom came to an end in 2008 we went to study Aquaculture in Castletownbere, my partners work experience was in breeding seahorses while I worked on the local Roaring Water Seaweed Co-op farm.