Interest grows in growing seaweed

Interest is growing in Alaska on the commercial potential for cultivation of kelp and other seaweeds, prompting Alaska Sea Grant to produce a downloadable publication on how to become actively engaged in this area of mariculture.

Current global demand for seaweed far outstrips wild supply, and Alaska has great potential to meet this need. Alaska’s seaweed mariculture industry is in the early stages of development, as research continues to address seed sources, transportation, marketing and other needs to make this an economically feasible business.

“Seaweed Farming in Alaska,” by Sea Grant’s Gary Freitag, is available for download at no charge at

https://seagrant.uaf.edu/bookstore/pubs/ASG-63.html

The publication describes how to get a permit and set up and tend the longlines seeded with kelp on the farm.  Freitag notes that raising seaweed can be compatible with fishing, as the kelp harvest happens before the busy salmon season in Alaska.  Given the time frame, the seaweed industry could take advantage of tenders and processing plant infrastructure during the off season, he said.