Seaweed and seaweed based products are gaining popularity fast. One of the reasons definitely is the growth of sushi restaurants and bars, where seaweeds are commonly used. But also the vegetarian and gastronomic kitchen use these products more and more. The kitchen revolution of the last years also was responsible for the development of gelling products, based on seaweed, as a vegetarian alternative for gelatin.
Another reason for its growing popularity is because they're healthy and contain lots of proteins, iron, iodine, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and a lot other products. Seaweeds look like plants, because they have leaves, roots and stems. These products do not only grow in the wild, but are also grown on ropes in eg China.
They are harvested manually. Machine harvesting can have severe results for the ecosystem. During harvesting other plants and animals could be destroyed.
After harvesting the leaves are dried. Growing seaweed is also very easy. There is hardly any burdens for the environment in comparison with animal products.