The ocean has been the source of economic prosperity and is vital to the future of humankind for its role in creating more sustainable life. The so-called blue bioeconomy is driven by a combination of fast growing world population, intensifying nutritional challenges, dwindling natural resources in search for sustainable alternative resources from lower trophic levels, and responses to climate change.

Surrounded by seas, the Korean Peninsula embraces a great habitat of Gelidium, which is one of the most coveted seaweeds in the world, and incubates blue potentials on its west coast that offer precious essentials to various sectors and to itself through its ecosystem services. The Gelidium cultivating project called Red Gold, in a joint effort with the marine networks, scientists and Korean government, aims to stimulate blue bioeconomy through ecosystem-based management and seeks viable options and methods while maintaining biodiversity.

Biodiversity is the basis of the ecosystem that keeps our planet healthy. It can be easily observed in mudflats that are home to numerous plant and animal species that contribute to important ecosystem functions, including carbon absorption from diatoms, the blue carbon. According to joint research by Ghent University Global Campus (GUGC) and Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), micro diatoms found in the tidal flats in the Korean Peninsula can potentially absorb 38.4% of all carbon dioxide emitted by motor vehicles in South Korea (approximately 50 million tonnes). This surpasses the EU’s targeted 37.5% reduction in carbon emissions from road transportation by 2030. This suggests feasible means to achieve net zero emission by 2050 for the Korean government since the peninsula holds a vast tidal mudflat.

The Korean peninsula has much to offer to the world in terms of sustainable life, and the world must keep vigil on the blue bioeconomy for the sake of our planet and for ourselves as a whole. The symposium aims to share findings and insights from the international marine networks, and to bring the world one step closer to achieving carbon neutrality by the year 2050.