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Seaweed: The Miracle Macroalgae with Major Economic and Environmental Value

September 27, 2023

Discover the versatility of seaweed and the contributions of seaweed farming—or seaweed aquaculture—to working waterfronts and environmental sustainability.

Two aquaculture workers pull a line of kelp out of the water and into their boat, on Seagrove Kelp Co's farm site. Buoy markers are present on the water's surface. Sustainably grown, organic Alaskan kelp is harvested at the Seagrove Kelp Co. farm in Doyle Bay. Credit: NOAA Fisheries/Jordan Hollarsmith

Seaweed is a nutritious, versatile, and pervasive organism. It is a type of macroalgae that can be used to make products we use every dayincluding fertilizers, animal feed, and cosmetics. It has even been described as a "superfood." In addition to being good for you, it's also good for the environment and the economy. 

Two people on a boat hauling in a line of farmed kelp and harvesting it into a bag.
Atlantic Sea Farms partner farmers harvesting their seaweed in Casco Bay, Maine. Credit: Nicole Wolf, courtesy of Atlantic Sea Farms

In this episode, we will hear from Dr. Brianna Shaughnessy, a communications specialist for NOAA Fisheries. She discusses the use of seaweed to create habitat, capture and store carbon from the atmosphere, and support working waterfronts. Because seaweed grows in the winter, fishermen can harvest it during their slow season to diversify their income. This seaweed farming—or seaweed aquaculture—provides an opportunity for fishermen to continue making a living as fisheries sectors face impacts from climate change. 

In fact, organizations across the United States are investing in seaweed aquaculture. We'll also speak with Tesia Bobrycki from the Native Conservancy and Liz MacDonald from Atlantic Sea Farms. These two organizations provide resources, technical assistance, and assistance with permitting and leasing to farmers and communities who want to get into seaweed farming.

Listen in to further explore this mighty macroalgae and its commercial and environmental benefits. 

Last updated by Office of Communications on May 09, 2024