The University of Alaska Fairbanks is leading a MARINER Category 1 project to design and develop replicable model farms capable of cost-effective production of sugar kelp, a type of macroalgae suitable for large-scale cultivation in U.S. ocean waters. Much of the cost of kelp farms is related to expensive anchor components, and the laborious process of installing and planting individual longlines between opposing anchors. Another 20% of the cost is ascribed to the harvest process and transport. The team plans innovations to reduce both equipment and operating costs. We are using a catenary type long line system that will minimize line entanglements, allowing close spacing of the grow lines. The reduced complexity of our proposed design also allows the deployment of an entire 1 hectare farm in less than a day. Our team seeks to integrate the entire farming process, including seed production, outplanting, grow-out, harvest, and re-seeding. A particular emphasis will be on the development of cost-effective harvesting methods based on technologies applied in the commercial sector.
PI: Michael Stekoll; email@example.com
WHOI, Marine Biological Laboratory, UConn, Goudey & Associates, Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation