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Algae > Volume 29(2); 2014 > Article
Algae 2014;29(2): 175-175.
The 2014 Wando Seaweeds Expo
Kwang Young Kim1,*

1Department of Oceanography, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 500-757, Korea
*Corresponding Author  Email: kykim@chonnam.ac.kr
ABSTRACT
The Wando Seaweed Expo (http://en.wandoexpo.com) was held from April 11 to May 11, 2014 at Wando Port in South Jeollanam-do Province, Korea. Wando is the most productive area in Korea for seaweed and abalone aquaculture. Under the theme ‘Discovery of Future Life, Seaweeds,’ the expo had many seaweed-related exhibitions and ran experiential programs for people of all ages. This international festival of seaweeds was a world-first. It was remarkable in that it was organized and held in a small county of Korea of only 53,000 people. Despite the sinking of the MV Sewol, on the sixth day of the Expo about 50 km off the Expo Park, more than 500,000 people attended this festival of algae. Seaweeds are living organisms that symbolize clean ocean waters. They are also fascinating and diverse organisms that thrive in all climatic regions of the planet. The expo showed the importance of seaweeds, and highlighted topics of environmental concern, in particular, climate change, global warming, and prospects for “green growth.” The exhibition hall hosted about 60 companies from more than 20 countries, showcasing new technologies, products, materials and services related to the seaweed industry. There were also several hands-on programs such as the workshop on seaweed ocean farming, and other events. There were four major event sections, which included the Main Theme Hall, the Eco-environmental Pavilion, the Healthy Food Pavilion and the Industrial Marine Resource Pavilion. The exhibits were organized to allow the participants to see and feel the growth, development, and ecology of seaweeds. The combined impact was a strong message of the variety of seafood for the present and for the future, the industrial value, and the next generation industry. The 2014 Wando International Marine Algal Symposium was hosted by the Korean Society of Phycology and was held from April 16-19, 2014, as a part of Expo events. The theme of this symposium was “Seaweeds for Future Industry”. The symposium included four plenary lectures and four special sessions covering various applications, aquaculture and industry using seaweeds and microalgae. About 30 foreign participants and over 300 domestic experts participated in discussions of seaweeds as resources and in industry. Never before has seaweed been so extensively promoted to the general public. During the month long expo, the awareness of seaweed as an alternative food source was raised. Although kim (Porphyra), miyeok (Undaria), dashima (Laminaria) are the most common seaweeds found in Korea, one visitor was surprised to learn about the diverse of uses for seaweeds in medicine, cosmetics, paper, energy, etc. The 2014 Wando Seaweed Expo emphasized and reaffirmed the importance of seaweed aquaculture. The visitors were exposed to environmental and economic impacts of marine algae like never before. Overall, it allowed both experts and non-experts to start conversations about the importance of seaweeds and gathered appreciation of the ocean and the photosynthetic organisms that inhabit it. The Expo will be continued … We hope!


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