SEAWEED AND OYSTER FARMS
Various New England Universities have played a pivotal role in increasing the available knowledge-base on the subject of seaweed. There are several collaborative research projects underway - some have been in place for many years.
Central to the current interest, as the adjacent advertisement suggests, is ongoing research by Dr. Charles Yarish at the University of Connecticut in Stamford. Yarish performed key joint seaweed research with Dr. Chris Neefus of the University of New Hampshire that helped to spawn interest and further research in both New Hampshire and Maine. As mentioned previously, Yarish also played an important advisory role in Scott Lindell's ongoing oyster farm/seaweed farm project in Massachusetts. Yale University is involved with Yarish in his pioneering work with Thimble Island Oyster Farm near New Haven, CT. Two-legged technology transfer has also occurred with former students of one University graduating to teach and perform research at another. Sarah Redmond is spearheading the interest in seaweed farming in Maine. Sarah is a graduate of UCONN and was mentored by Yarish.
It was Sarah who organized the recent "Seaweed Scene" in Maine. As the photo above from the conference suggests, the interest in seaweed education is rapidly developing into a comprehensive business initiative in Maine. A small "Seaweed Scene" meeting last year rapidly ballooned into a conference of over 100 people this year.
The economic viability of a combination of seaweed and oyster farming is still being tested. One would hope the primary orientation of seaweed farming is human consumption. We need the food. The match of oysters and seaweed is an historic one. The Romans packed the British oysters in seaweed to keep them fresh during the shipboard ride from Britain to Rome. Ceasar would be pleased. ED.
The following advertisement appeared recently on appropriate aquaculture-related websites around New England:
Interested in learning more about kelp farming?
Ocean Approved and the University of Connecticut will conduct a free workshop at the following locations:
Aug. 29, 2013 4:30-7:30PM
Immediately following Seaweed Scene 2013
The Hutchinson Center, Belfast, ME
Sept. 3, 2013 3:30- 6:30PM The Bridgeport Regional Aquaculture Science and Technology Education Center, 60 Saint Stephens Road, Bridgeport, CT
Sept. 10, 2013 6:00-9:00PM
Room 200 of the Marine and Natural Sciences Building at Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI
Ocean Approved, a Portland, ME based company, has been farming kelp on the Maine coast for three years utilizing techniques developed in conjunction with the University of Connecticut.
This workshop will be a hands-on opportunity to learn techniques for growing kelp from spore to harvest. Equipment, techniques, and lessons learned will be covered from leaders in emerging industry.
See the Ocean Approved Blog to DOWNLOAD the workbook used for these workshops. http://www.oceanapproved.com/blog/
Note: No small role in this growing field has been the success of Ocean Approved, an aquaculture-centered company based in Portland that began as a mussel farming company, saw the bright future in seaweed, and switched. The numbers of Ocean Approved "lines in the water" has increased ten-fold from last year to this. Today, their primary crop is sugar kelp.
Their site description in 2011 read as follows:
Ocean Approved, LLC, a Maine limited-liability corporation, applied to the Department of Marine Resources (“DMR”) for a 3-year experimental aquaculture lease on 3.03 acres located in the coastal waters of the State of Maine, west-southwest of Indian Point, Great Chebeague Island, in Casco Bay in the Town of Chebeague Island in Cumberland County, for the purpose of cultivating sugar kelp, (Saccharina latissima), horsetail kelp (Laminaria digitata), and winged
kelp (Alaria esculenta), using suspended culture techniques. DMR accepted the application as complete on August 24, 2011.
Acknowledgements Oyster Information wishes to thank the following people for their assistance in reviewing this issue: Lindsay Green and Chris Neefus PhD. at UNH; Sarah Redmond and Dana Morse at U. of Maine; Scott Lindell, Woods Hole, MBL; Robert Rheault, Executive Director, ECSGA. Thank you also to Martha's Vineyard Productions for access to Scott Lindell's video.