Beaches of Bounty


Beaches of Bounty

Iceland’s cool temperatures and clean coastline provide ideal conditions for seaweed harvesting, a largely untapped resource with exciting potential. Zoë Robert investigates.

Published in the 2013 June-July issue of Iceland Review – IR 03.13. By Zoë Robert. Photos by Áslaug Snorradóttir.


Iceland’s pristine coastline, measuring roughly 5,000 kilometers, most of it undeveloped and sparsely populated, provides the ideal conditions for marine life.

As many as 250 species of seaweed thrive along Iceland’s shores, says Jón Trausti Kárason, research specialist at Matís Icelandic Food and Biotech Research and Development Institute. “Most of them are edible, but not necessarily tasty,” he notes, adding that the main species currently utilized number between five and ten.

Untapped Resource

Although the species of seaweed found off Iceland are not unique in themselves, due to the conditions in which they grow they hold special properties. “The species found along the coastline are unique in the way that they grow more slowly in the relatively cold North Atlantic and therefore have certain characteristics that can only be found in Icelandic waters. They have higher bio-active properties in comparison to the same species growing in warmer waters,” Jón Trausti explains.

Seaweed contains a variety of nutritional benefits including being high in protein, fiber, vitamins A, B1 and B6 and minerals such as iodine, potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphor. Fat and cholesterol free, seaweed is also high in iron—dulse has an even higher iron content than spinach.

You can read the remainder of this article in the June-July issue of Iceland Review – IR 03.13. Five times a year the print edition of Iceland Review & Atlantica brings you a wealth of articles on all aspects of life in Iceland including Páll Stefánsson’s latest images of the country’s majestic landscape. Click here to subscribe and here to browse through a selection of pages from the current issue.