September 18, 2014
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Kelp is Canada’s latest fish farmers crop.
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Kelp is the latest crop that Canada’s fish farmers are cashing in on. The country’s largest salmon grower – Cooke Aquaculture, is launching its brand this week of certified organically grown seaweeds of two different kinds – winged and sugar kelp, can be cooked or served up fresh. They are being sold under Cooke’s True North Salmon brand.
The sea plants are grown in New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy in an Integrated Multi Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) farm, along with blue mussels and Atlantic salmon. The floating farms are designed to mimic the natural ocean ecosystem.
Kelp and other aquatic plants sustain a multi-billion industry throughout Asia and more Americans are adding the sea veggies to their diets. Kelp also is widely used in foods and beverages, animal feeds, cosmetics and coming soon – bio-fuels.
Alaska seaweed got a shout out this year when researchers at North Carolina State University found that common ones found in waters and beaches near Sitka are super packed with compounds that fight obesity, diabetes and heart diseases.
Growing more sea plants in Alaska is a focus of a new Mariculture Initiative that is building support for that industry’s expansion and enhancement.
One of the things we are doing is broadening the concept of mariculture. We’re not just talking about shellfish farming or aquatic plants but also enhancement and restoration. So it’s a three legged stool. When you start looking at the industry from that point of view it’s a much broader impact it could have on the state, and you’re also talking about different sets of stakeholders to involve.
Julie Decker is director of the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation, and maricultures project leader. An area of special interest, Decker says, is Western Alaska, where no mariculture ventures have ever been made.
I think there are things that can be grown out there – whether it’s an enhancement program or private shellfish farming – there are things that can be done.
Find mariculture links at our website – www.alaskafishradio.com
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. (www.oceanbeauty.com) In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.