How many different kinds of seaweed have you ever eaten?
Wakame seaweed, kelp, hijiki, nori, mozuku, aonori, aosa, tengusa...
If you can name 10 kinds, you must be quite a seaweed lover.
However, did you know that there are more than 1,500 varieties of seaweeds living in Japanese waters, all of which are edible and non-poisonous?
Even in Japan, where people have been eating seaweed since ancient times and is said to have the most advanced seaweed-eating culture in the world, only a few dozen types of seaweed are on the dinner table.
Surprisingly, there are still more than 1,400 varieties of seaweed that remain unknown to us.
While plants on the ground have been studied for years, and various products and cooking methods have been established, the world of seaweed is still in its infancy. In fact, many of them have not even started yet.
Our company, Sea Vegetable LLC researches various types of seaweed, including "seaweed that is actually delicious but not eaten" and "seaweed that used to be eaten but is no longer harvested" in various parts of Japan. Our company aims to expand such production through land and sea cultivation with less environmental impact, and even proposes new ways to eat it.
Through these efforts, we hope to preserve the seaweed food culture that has existed in the past and create a new seaweed food culture towards the future.
Our company has been producing a seaweed called "Suji-Aonori" since our establishment.
Suji-Aonori is said to have the most aromatic scent of all seaweeds, and is one of the highest grade of all green laver. Its main production areas are at the mouths of the Yoshino and Shimanto Rivers; however, with the rise in water temperature, Aonori production had been drastically reduced, and the supply was inadequate.
In response, we began the world's first land-based aquaculture using clean, mineral-rich underground seawater. With the help of our originally developed facilities and production know-how, we succeeded to provide a stable supply of high-quality blue-green laver throughout the year.
Japan's oceans, once rich in seaweed, are now experiencing a drastic decline in seaweed resources due to "iso-yake " (rocky shore scorching).
This is largely due to the effects of rising seawater temperatures, which have already begun to spread the habitats of seaweed-eating fish such as rabbitfish and sea urchins, and their increased feeding activity.
In the critical situation where seaweed cannot propagate on the bottom of the sea, we have come to the hypothesis that the only way to combat this to cultivate seaweed on the sea surface.
If we cannot eliminate the factors that cause feeding damage, we can form seaweed beds on the sea surface by producing seaweed suitable for that environment during a specific period of time when it is not subject to feeding damage. We believe that if we can create a "seasonal seaweed bed," it will have a positive impact on the marine ecosystem.
Currently, we are expanding the production of a wide variety of seaweeds at various times of the year and in various areas of the sea in cooperation with fishermen all over Japan.
In the course of our various efforts, a diverse group of talented people have come together at Sea Vegetable.
Experts who have been diving in the seas all over Japan for over 40 years to collect and classify seaweed, specialists in water quality analysis and equipment development, and first-rate chefs from both Japanese and Western genres have joined our company to create a new movement of proposal from the sea to the dining table.
By bringing together the wisdom and actions of various people and cultivating a seaweed food culture, we believe that the future of the sea and seaweed will be nurtured forever.