Southern Kurzeme, Latvia
The Kurzeme coastal region of Latvia is an area rich with red algae Furcellaria lumbricalis, which is one of the most common algae species in the seacoast of Latvia with the highest total amount of biomass. Furcellaria lumbricalis is a valuable raw material for the production of agar, a gelatinous substance which most often is used in food products, for example, in production of confectionery and bakeries. It is also used as a vegetarian gelatin substitute, as well as in pharmaceutical manufacturing, and in dentistry, biomedicine and biotechnology.
In the Kurzeme region, Furcellaria lumbricalis was used in agar production before the 1980s. There were large stocks of the algae available. However, due to oil tanker accidents in 1979 and 1981, there was a dramatic decrease of red algae. Total production in Latvia stopped during the 90’s. SUBMARINER seeks to investigate the potential for restoring the agar production industry in the area and to develop competitive ideas for doing so.
A development plan for the potential resumption of agar production from red algae Furcellaria in the Latvian coastal region Kurzeme is finalized. Key findings show that agar production would have a positive impact on Kurzeme region, since the production would promote development and increase of economic competitiveness of the region.
Specific activities of the plan include:
- An overview of the agar production methods (both the methods used currently as well as methods used in the past)
- Assessment of Furcellaria stock quantities in the seacoast of Kurzeme by dividing the seacoast in stages, which are based on coastal geography features and natural formations
- A cost analysis of algae collection and transportation
- Calculation of agar production costs ( including costs for preparation of the material, processing, and general production costs)
Download the Regional Development Plan
- SUBMARINER Report 3/2013: Development plan for the potential resumption of agar production from red algae Furcellaria in the Latvian coastal region Kurzeme [pdf, 1.82 MB]