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Want to get rich? Sell this treasure... seaweed

It seems the Spanish are swimming in on something the Japanese have been doing for a while - harvesting seaweed for money.

The culinary delicacy promises young Spaniards caught in their country's long-running recession a way out of troubled financial waters.

With one in four people out of work, work prospects are scarce in a country hit by an economic crisis.

That's why three young Spaniards – 35-year-old marine scientist Alberto Sanchez, his sister Maria and his friend, 33-year-old biologist Sergio Baamonde – ventured into unchartered waters.

Armed with stainless steel scythes, they swim in low tide from rock to rock cutting down codium seaweed and kombu kelp, which they gather up in bags.

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The trio carry the sea greens by foot to their car, parked at the top of nearby cliffs. Then they transport the algae to a processing factory in northern Spain.

“It is tough but we are very motivated,” said Baamonde, who joined up with Sanchez in April 2012 to launch into the seaweed business.

They established a company, Ardora Sea Preserves, to sell edible seaweed. The industry took root in the Galicia region in the 1980s.

In 2012, sales of ecological seaweed and related foods in Galicia amounted to 3.8 million euros (S$6.4 million), according to the region’s maritime and environmental minister, Rosa Quintana. - AFP

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