Seaweed farming set to surge in AK, BC
February 11, 2016
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Kelp Cubes add to the sea veggie rage. I’ll tell you more after this
The Alaska Marine Safety Education Association offers free ergonomics training to seafood processing workers and fishermen to reduce injuries and increase productivity. Visit www.amsea.org to schedule a training at your plant or vessel.
Federal grants are available to help “Made in America” companies compete with imports and save US jobs. Learn more at www.nwtaac.org.
Growing less labor intensive underwater ocean veggies is an exploding market around the world, especially for products made from kelp. Globally, kelp drives a $5 billion dollar industry. Some examples:
Ocean Approved of Maine, which claims to be the nation’s first and only commercial kelp farm, launched a line of kelp cubes last year. The cubes are aimed at the popular smoothie market, which is using more green veggie in its juices. The company also sells kelp “sea slaw,” “sea rounds” and “wraps.” Ocean Approved, which began in 2009, was seeded with a half million dollar grants from NOAA Fisheries and the Maine Technology Institute. Maine’s production of primarily rockweed is valued at $20 million annually.
Canada’s fish farmers also are cashing in on kelp. The country’s largest salmon grower – Cooke Aquaculture, has debuted its brand of certified organically grown seaweeds from winged and sugar kelp. It can be cooked or served up fresh, and is sold under Cooke’s True North brand. And British Columbia researchers are seeding baby kelp at 30 farms as part of a five year, $1 million test project funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.
Chile is estimating a farmed kelp industry would bring in US$540 million annually. Japan’s nori industry amounts to $2 billion per year, and is one of the world’s most valuable crops.
The growing interest and uses for kelp is not lost on Alaska – especially as Outsiders eye Alaska for more products. Currently there are 56 aqua-farms in state waters; five are growing kelp.
Seaweeds – growing macroalgae, especially for kelp. Seeing a surge of interest, especially for kelps.
Cynthia Pring-Ham is mariculture director for the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game. Currently, there are 56 sea farms operating in Alaska and five are growing kelp. The state takes applications for aquatic farms each year through April. Find links at 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.