Kelp is a type of seaweed and staple ingredient in Japanese, Korean and Chinese cuisines. Although it is only gaining popularity in the West recently, kelp has been named a ‘Superfood’ due to its impressive health benefits. It is rich in iodine – a trace mineral found in seawater. Eating foods rich in iodine may enhance metabolism and support cognitive function.
Westpoint carries an Atlantic Kelp Powder sourced from the Atlantic Ocean within Canada. The harvest is done at low tide and the seaweed is cut at a minimum 15 cm from the holdfast. Only 15 to 20% of the total biomass is harvested and the harvest sites are exploited every 3 years. The sickles, serrated knives, specialized cutter-rakes, or mechanical equipment the harvesters use are chosen for their ability to minimize the damage to holdfasts and the seaweed substrate. When pruning seaweed fronds, harvesters take care to leave enough for future regrowth and regeneration.
The effective, sustainable harvesting of wild stocks is important as it relates to the ability of harvested beds and their associated ecologies to persist over time. In the Canadian Maritimes, New Brunswick operated a 17% exploitation rate for the harvesting of wild Anodosum beds, while in Nova Scotia a strict 25% exploitation rate has been in place since 1999. The consistent yield per hectare of Anodosum beds is proof of good management practices and an ecologically sustainable harvest in the Canadian Maritimes.
Why does buying sustainable Kelp matter? Sustainable production, or wild-crafted produced kelp seaweed, means that the companies realize that there is only so much seaweed available for human use. They then decide against mass production and only take from the sea what they need. In fact, Kelp may be harvested by trimming it and leaving enough of the plant intact that it may continue to grow for years and years to come. Actually, if harvested in this way, harvesters are able to continue to reap from this incredible seaweed for up to 60 years! It truly becomes an unlimited resource.