As your ship enters the Sargasso Sea you peer over the side into the crystal blue waters. The Sargasso Sea is so clear that you can look to a depth of nearly 200 feet, and see a school of fish swimming below you.
The Sargasso Sea is an area of about 1,400 miles from East to West and 700 miles from North to South, surrounded by ocean currents that keep the waters inside circulating, around and around. The area gets its name from Sargassum, a type of seaweed that grows here and floats on the surface. The circulation of the waters keeps the floating plants pinned into the sea, as a result, they can continuously photosynthesize without fear of washing up on land and drying out. The Sargasso Sea contains an estimated 10 million tons of Sargassum seaweed, which is made up of 70% carbon by dry weight. The Sargassum out here reproduces quickly drawing more carbon out of the atmosphere and regulating the Earth’s environment. It also plays the role of a nursery for young fish and provides them with a source of food. Thick mats of Sargassum drifting across the surface of the ocean can sometimes be as big as a small island.
This seaweed has abundant uses, it is used in sushi and as an additive in many meals. Rich in alginic acid, it is used as a thickener and emulsifier. Sargassum can also be used as fertilizer for corn, squash, and beans. It can be pressed into paper products, reducing the necessary amount of trees to be harvested each year, and even used as an additive in concrete and bricks, reducing construction costs. Perhaps the best thing about the farming and harvesting of Sargassum is the strong regulating effects it has on our planet. With its continued usage, it will serve to neutralize more and more of the carbon emissions being put out by land-based industry, while also building up the foundation of a renewable biofuel that is ready to ship anywhere in the world at the point of harvest. While Sargassum has a slightly lower oil content than some algae, it may be easier to farm and could one day be a staple of renewable biofuel production. The only way to know how Sargassum-oriented farming techniques can benefit humanity the most is to begin experimenting with them as soon as possible!