Keywords: Chile, Phaeophyta, research developments, Rhodophyta, seaweed cultivation, seaweed farming, brown algal materials, abalone cultivation, seaweed flour
Seaweed future cultivation in Chile: perspectives and challenges
Production of seaweeds in Chile has fluctuated between 120,000 and 316,000 wet metric tons per year during the last ten years. The most important Phaeophyta are exploited for alginate production and as abalone feed. Among the Rhodophyta, Chilean production comes mainly from wild stocks, as at present cultivation on a commercial scale is restricted to Gracilaria. Large scale production of this species has been the result of a sharp increase in the number of farms. During the last five years an important trend towards diversification of seaweed exploitation and cultivation has developed. The demand for brown algal materials for the alginate industry, abalone cultivation, seaweed flour production for human and animal feeding and the development of novel food products has encouraged the farming of Macrocystis pyrifera and of red edible seaweeds, such as Chondracanthus chamissoi and Callophyllis variegata, is also promoting the development of cultivation activities.