Seaweeds are autotrophic organisms that use sunlight to extract from the water dissolved inorganic nutrients and produce biomass (the general functional principle of primary producers in an ecosystem). For that reason, besides being a healthy and nutritious food, as well as the source of compounds for other applications, sea weeds are crucial elements for sound ecosystem management. The sustainable exploitation of marine resources (e.g., fed aquaculture of finfish and shrimp) will need to be balanced with the establishment of mass production of seaweeds for the sustainable growth of aquaculture in the twenty first century. Seaweed aqua culture already represents 23% of the world's aquaculture production, but 'marine agronomy' is still in its infancy and seaweed potential is far from being fully exploited.
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