Working Waterfront has published a report on Ocean Approved. The Maine seaweed aquaculture venture that received a “$95,000 NOAA Small Business Innovation Research Program Phase I Grant and an experimental lease to raise seaweed near Little Chebeague Island”.
The NOAA grant will make it possible for the company to generate their own seed and raise young seedlings (or sporelings) to put on aquaculture lease sites for growout, a move which Olsen says is necessary if they want to increase productivity. “We have been hand picking seaweed from the wild,” he explains, “always respecting the biomass and making sure we are tending the beds. But kelp can be overharvested, so to expand into larger scale production, we have to begin growing plants from our own seed.” He adds that this move also has the advantages of making possible selective breeding and choosing the ideal environment to put down their seedlings for optimum growth.