Connecticut Sea Grant publishes kelp-growing manual
By Tom Walker
A team of researchers at the Universities of Connecticut and New Hampshire have authored a kelp growing manual that provides a practical application of the decades of research on kelp production from those two schools.
The “New England Seaweed Culture Handbook, Nursery Systems” was published by Connecticut Sea Grant with the objective of supporting the expansion of seaweed production along North American coast lines.
Led by Dr Charles Yarish at UConn and Dr Christopher Neefus, U. of New Hampshire, the handbook outlines nursery production and production techniques for four economically and ecologically valuable seaweeds of New England - the locally occurring species of Saccharina (sugar kelp), Gracilaria (red seaweed), Porphyra (Nori) and Chondrus (Irish Moss).
Developing seed techniques is the first hurdle for growing kelp and the manual addresses that need. Yarish and other team members have developed growout techniques together with New England growers.
Connecticut-based cooperative Green aims to expand kelp farming and it is developing “3-D Ocean Farming,” which is perfecting co-culture techniques using shellfish and kelp together on the same site.
There is room for growth as FAO figures show that in 2014, only 54,000 tons of seaweed were cultivated in the Americas and Europe with an annual value of $51 million. That is less than the $67 million value of seaweed products that the US imported from Korea that same year.