In Maine and elsewhere, aquaculturists, harvesters, researchers and those in the business of making products from marine macroalgae are increasingly interested in seaweed. This is due to some innovative research being conducted in the region, and because Maine now has the first and only commercial kelp aquaculture operation in the United States, Portland-based Ocean Approved LLC.
The seaweed industry will be the subject of a public workshop starting at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 30, at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center in Belfast. The workshop will cover the biology, culture techniques and products being made from seaweed, and will review the findings of a recent technology transfer project in kelp-shellfish polyculture, funded by the Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center. The workshop was originally scheduled for UMaine’s Darling Marine Center in Walpole, but was moved to the Hutchinson Center due to higher-than-expected preregistration.
“Put the research together with the commercial activity, and there’s a buzz building,” said Dana Morse, a marine extension associate with Maine Sea Grant and University of Maine Cooperative Extension. “At this workshop, we hope to discuss future needs in research, product development, equipment and husbandry.”
Charles Yarish, a University of Connecticut-Stamford seaweed researcher, will open the workshop with a talk titled, “Opportunities for Seaweed Mariculture in Northeast America.” Anne Langston, the associate director of UMaine’s Aquaculture Research Institute, will speak about resources to facilitate future research and development. Sarah Redmond of Maine Sea Grant and UMaine Extension will review potential consumer products based on seaweed. Paul Dobbins and Tollef Olson of Ocean Approved LLC will discuss kelp aquaculture, and several researchers from Quebec will also discuss growing kelp.
The workshop concludes at 5 p.m. with a facilitated discussion about seaweed aquaculture. There is no cost for the workshop, but space is limited and registration is required.