December 23, 2019
Seaweed has been receiving a lot of attention recently as the next sustainable superfood. Not only is it packed with micronutrients, but seaweed also absorbs carbon dioxide as it grows. This means cultivating seaweed alongside other marine species could help buffer vulnerable organisms, such as oysters, from the corrosive effects of ocean acidification.
But getting a seaweed farm up and running is a complicated endeavor, with many barriers — including a complex permitting process and a current lack of local markets for the end product. To help aspiring aquaculturists navigate the ins and outs of seaweed farming, Washington Sea Grant, the Puget Sound Restoration Fund, Hood Canal Mariculture, and the NOAA Veterans Conservation Corp Internship Program hosted a daylong Seaweed Farming Introductory Workshop last month. Closed-captioned videos of the entire workshop, along with the full agenda and PDFs of the presentation slides, are now available here.
“We feel strongly that anyone planning to farm, process or otherwise work with seaweed in Washington should understand the challenges facing this emerging aquaculture sector in our state,” says Meg Chadsey, ocean acidification specialist at WSG and workshop organizer. “Our goal in hosting this workshop was to help people make informed decisions about whether this industry is right for them, and I think we accomplished that.”
More than 150 people tuned in to the first online workshop and at least 30 more — many of them veterans and active-duty military personnel — attended in person at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma. The topics covered included factors to consider in starting a seaweed farm in Washington, potential uses for locally-farmed seaweed, and tips on working with the Washington Department of Agriculture.
The workshop was the first outcome of a grant received from NOAA National Sea Grant to provide a tiered training program for potential seaweed farmers in Washington State. Topics discussed at the first workshop will be covered in depth at a multi-day, intensive training in Seattle in early February 2020. Only individuals who attended the November workshop or watched the archived recordings will be eligible to apply for the multi-day training. Applications for the February workshop are due January 10 — please email WSGseaweed@uw.edu for workshop and application details.