[03 September/Farmers Weekly] Coromandel business Wakame Fresh will receive backing from the $40 million Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures Fund to test the plan’s commercial viability to take the invasive seaweed undaria, also known as wakame and the gorse of the sea, to the Japanese market. The Ministry for Primary Industries is contributing up to $75,200 and Wakame Fresh $114,182. Co-founder Lucas Evans commented edible seaweed is becoming more popular and that it is an everyday food in Japan, both consumed in a cured form and as an ingredient in a range of products. Asia is facing a shortage of the delicacy after the 2011 tsunami wiped out many Japanese seaweed farms. That scarcity is a prime opportunity because New Zealand has a cleaner environment reports Mr Evans. Over the past seven years, he and his business partner Lance Townsend have worked with the local mussel industry and last year exported the seaweed to Australia. It is one of the best sources of omega 3, as well as high in minerals and vitamins and scientists are discovering some of the fibres are probiotic. The Government’s spend will be used for a feasibility study, including a trial export order of 100kg of wakame.