12B Seaweed Harvest.
Seaweed is traditionally harvested in the Western Isles where life is influenced by the sea. Here Lewis is working at Loch Erisort on the Isle of Lewis.

Traditionally harvesters looped a rope behind their boat to pull in the seaweed but the winds and the tides would wash much of their catch away. Lewis now uses nets, and often wades out to his waist to pull in the weed.

The weed is used in animal feed, fertiliser, cosmetics, and food products. Harvesting is sustainable. Leaving eight inches attached to the rock allows the seaweed to regrow to a commercial length in 4 years.

A traditional pudding from the islands uses the seaweed, An Cairgean (carrageen). The weed is washed and dried in the sun to bleach. It is then boiled in milk and sieved. It sets like jelly.

Seaweed is also used to fertilise the crops on the Machair or in the cultivation ridges, called lazy-beds, for growing potatoes.

The sea is a great provider, however it can no longer provide the bounty of fish that it used to. The herring industry collapsed after introduced methods of fishing wiped out the stock. Now the fishing industry on the islands is focused on lobster, crab and scallops. Salmon and mussel farming are also widespread throughout the Islands.