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About Deltares

Deltares is an independent institute for applied research in the field of water and subsurface. Pressure on ecosystems and the environment is increasing as the population and the economy grow. At the same time, governments are becoming more ambitious in terms of improving soil and water quality, and there is increasing demand for ecosystem services. Deltares is developing knowledge regarding the quality of soil and water systems and making that knowledge available through model and information systems for policymakers, managers and users. The system knowledge is also being used for sustainable natural solutions as an alternative to the traditional hard hydraulic engineering approach, for technological innovations to improve the protection of water on soil systems, and for the exploitation of ecosystem services.

Deltares & Seaweed

Deltares has the ability to ascertain what local hydrodynamic conditions (wave climate, tidal currents) prevail, so what kind of forces infrastructures should be able to cope with and hence what the minimum requirements are for anchoring. However, even more relevant for seaweed farming is that over the past years Deltares has developed ecosystem models that can both be used to ascertain the local production carrying capacity for seaweed (how much can you produce given the local environmental conditions), the ecological carrying capacity for seaweed (i.e. how much can you produce without having a negative impact on the environment) and also how can seaweed be combined with other types of aquaculture (e.g. mussel farming or fish farming) to increase yield and reduce environmental impact.

The value of the numerical models we develop, depends on their quality and hence on the right data that go into these models. This requires knowledge on how fast seaweed takes up certain nutrients, in which light, temperature and hydrodynamic conditions. This differs per species and also differs for strains of a specific species adapted to e.g. the Oosterschelde or species adapted to open North Sea conditions. This is the type of research we do not do. It is work that e.g. our colleagues at Wageningen or at NIOZ do, so we seek collaboration with them. Many of these parameters are best collected at the right locations, so for that we also need to collaborate with farmers with (test) sites in different places.

The model results important in the planning stage to select configurations that are most profitable. It also gives insight in how much can be expected in yield from a specific site. It also allows regulators to determine the environmental impact (e.g. in terms of extraction of nutrients) and assess acceptable levels. The sea seems large, but relatively easy to over-exploit. We have a long history of e.g. over-exploiting fish stocks. However, now we have the knowledge and technology to prevent this and create a sustainable new offshore food sector.

Contact Deltares

Want to get in touch with Deltares? You can call Deltares at +31 (0)88-335 8273 or send an e-mail to