Red Harpoon extract is a powerful antioxidant with antibacterial qualities.


Red Harpoon (Asparagopsis armata) or Harpoon Weed is a red algae with two distinct life cycles, so different that they were once classified as two separate species.

Red Harpoon is found in the shallow waters up to 30 meters deep. Both phases of the algae are symbiotic, often found growing on other algae via a barbed hook (the harpoon). Otherwise, plants can attach to rocks or float freely.


Commercially farmed Red Harpoon


It is native to the Southern Hemisphere (Australia and New Zealand) but has been crept into the Northern Hemisphere where it was first recorded in Europe in 1925.

Red Harpoon is now found globally, from the Canary Islands to Morocco and throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Its extract is a powerful antioxidant with antibacterial qualities and is a valued ingredient in many cosmetic products. It is harvested or grown for the production of agar, a firm gel-like substance that is used as a thickener and stabilizer in many food products.

It is not easily harvested because it grows attached to other algae so it is either carefully gathered by hand or grown in farms. You can find out more about Red Harpoon at the Seaweed Industry Association. Red Harpoon is an approved ingredient by the Natural Products Association.


Off the coast of Galway, Ireland Red Harpoon is grown commercially for the European cosmetics industry. The 1ha sea farm grows the the seaweed on long lines (left) that produce two tonnes of seaweed per year. The lines are seeded with wild Red Harpoon which then spreads along the lines.


Rhodophyta: Rhodophyceae: Nemaliales: Bonnemaisoniaceae: Asparagopsis: Armata