About The Species
Sugar kelp is a yellowish brown marine algae wildly cultivated and eaten in Asia and growing in popularity in the United States as a nutritious food high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Sugar kelp has long been known as a sweetener and having thickening and gelling qualities that can be added to food and cosmetics. Sugar kelp is being grown and harvested by more commercial farms for a variety of uses, from food to potential biofuels.
- Sugar kelp are yellowish or dark-brown and green in color.
- They resemble large lasagna noodles and have a long narrow, undivided blade with a short thin stem.
- The central band of the blade is dimpled while the margins are smoother with a wavy edge. The crinkled blade gives the sugar kelp it’s other common names.
- Sugar kelp reach maturity between 3 and 4 years of age.
- Their blade can grow up to 5 meters (16 feet) long and 20 centimeters (7.9 inches) wide.
- Sugar kelp can live for 2-4 years and grow quickly in colder months.
- Permitting for sugar kelp aquaculture is governed by federal, state and local governments.
- The federal agencies involved are NOAA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Coast Guard.
- Sugar kelp farms must adhere to federal regulations including those in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation & Management Act, the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act.