Goa’s 30-year-old Gabriella D’Cruz believes seaweed is the crop of the future.

“A lot of people in India are iodine deficient. Seaweed is an excellent iodine food source for India,” says  the marine conservationist.

She runs a seaweed company ‘The Good Ocean’ to raise awareness about India’s seaweed diversity and its value as a highly nutritious and climate-smart seafood.

Currently, in its first year of operation, her company harvests seaweed along the coast in Goa and supplies it to restaurants, breweries, distilleries, and beauty companies.

Gabriella works with chefs to co-create recipes using seaweed. “You can use seaweed to make pickles, burgers, vegetables, seasoning, and salt alternatives,” she says.

She sells a 10-gram packet of dry seaweed for Rs 96. “When you rehydrate it, it becomes eight times the weight. It is relatively affordable in terms of nutritional value,” she adds.

India is home to 800 species of seaweed. Of these, 145 are available in Goa. With her team, she harvests only one type of edible seaweed — sargassum.

In the harvesting season, Gabriella packs her kit of fins and mask and with a pair of scissors and a basket, she dives into the seaweed forest.

As per her, seaweed farming can empower coastal communities and help combat marine pollution as once these people are able to get jobs, they will become protectors of the sea.

For her mission to change lives and revive oceans using seaweed, Gabriella was also awarded the BBC Global Youth Champion Award 2021.