Where does one start when growing a seaweed farm in Alaska? For those that have tried to obtain kelp permits have hit many bumps along the way leaving a lot of guesswork before they even get started. This evening a free webinar by Alaska Sea Grant ‘s Marine Advisory Agent Gary Freitag. He is aiming to answer the tough questions on how to become part of the worlds growing seaweed industry.
“This is not a real technical presentation. Because the questions I am getting from 95% of the people that have shown an interest do not have a clue about what seaweed farming is about. They are interested in the industry, but people don’t know anything about the market potential, or even how to put a farm in.”
The webinar will cover a variety of topics, from the science of kelp to handling, and potential product types.
“We are going to look at culture techniques, like basically how people do it with a string and some pipe, and then how to wind it onto the lines and all that kind of stuff.”
It takes time to collect and harvest enough fertile blades. The kelp is then stressed so that it releases spores that grab onto lines that are then sprouted in tanks. Freitag wants to point out that it this isn’t a process that happens overnight.
“I want to put a little more time into what the commercial fishery prospect, and what is being done worldwide right now. The Seaweed industry is a growing industry at this point. And so it is getting to be really significant and the growth curves look really promising to the point where it is going to continue to grow and be accepted more.”
Compared to overseas, US seaweed consumption is centuries behind but slowly gaining popularity. Frietag says the seaweed market isn’t at all saturated globally.
“Nobody thinks about seaweed in the U.S. It is just not part of the culture of this area. However, the rest of the world is dependent on the macro algae’s. Production is huge.”
Freitag sees seaweed as a huge opportunity for Alaskans and wants to help those who are interested get started. The free webinar is tonight at 5:00, with only 100 spots available.
Register at the Alaska Sea Grant website. www.aquaculture.seagrant.uaf.edu
“This is the first step. What we are trying to learn the techniques and come up with some clear descriptions on how to go about farming seaweed. And that is what we are doing at this stage and that is what this webinar is about.”