San Diego extends agreement with pilot sunken algae farm

According to a press release, the port is also investing an additional $100,000 in the Poured seaweed project in exchange for an increase in revenue share from 5% to 6% and an extended revenue share period from 2043 to 2048.

Sunken Seaweed is led by two marine ecologists who are committed to pioneering sustainable seaweed aquaculture in San Diego. They grow culinary seaweed including dulse, sea lettuce, ogo, and other larger varieties of kelp. Sunken Seaweed’s goal is to sell its seaweed to chefs and food production and distribution companies. They are also exploring a range of products including fertilizers, human feed supplements and livestock feed additives. Sunken Seaweed’s pilot farm is located at the northwest end of San Diego Bay.

“Sunken Seaweed has successfully established a seaweed farm in San Diego Bay and the results achieved and the partnerships they have formed are promising. It makes sense for us – both economically and environmentally – to help them grow their business and hopefully one day thrive as a long-standing business in our waters. This can help grow aquaculture in our region and across the state while improving water quality, improving our ecosystems, and mitigating the impacts of climate change,” said Vice President Rafael Castellanos, of the San Diego Harbor Board of Commissioners.

The amended agreement will allow Sunken Seaweed to continue to conduct research on ecosystem services from algae and shellfish farming in San Diego Bay. Additionally, they will be able to expand and scale their terrestrial seaweed aquaculture operations at a new satellite location in Humboldt Bay in conjunction with a well-established and vertically integrated aquaculture company, Hog Island Oyster Company. The amendment will support the scaling up of Sunken Seaweed’s operations and position the company as an industry leader in algae production, as well as ecosystem services research applied to the algae aquaculture in port environments.

“Thanks to the Port of San Diego’s initial investment in 2017, marine ecologists from Sunken Seaweed and San Diego State University were able to conduct extensive research and development in seaweed aquaculture and discovered the enormous potential that San Diego has in this area,” said Leslie Booher. , co-founder of Sunken Seaweed. “With this reinvestment, not only can we now commercialize our cultured algae, but we can continue to work with expert researchers and engage young people interested in sustainable aquaculture in San Diego. This is how we are developing the blue economy and we are delighted that our port partners are champions of this sector.

The Sunken Seaweed Pilot Project is part of the Port’s Blue Economy Incubator, created to help create, grow and scale new water-dependent business ventures in San Diego Bay , focusing on sustainable aquaculture and port-related blue technologies.

The Sunken Seaweed project has many ecological and economic advantages. The Port can use the results of the pilot project to assess seaweed aquaculture as a tool to:

  • Bioremediation to improve water quality – algae and crustaceans can absorb and/or filter certain contaminants such as excess nitrogen from land runoff, heavy metals and PCBs
  • Carbon sequestration – algae can help reduce greenhouse gases by storing atmospheric carbon
  • Protection of coastal habitat and infrastructure – algae and crustaceans can mitigate storm surges caused by sea level rise due to climate change
  • Habitat restoration and fisheries enhancement – ​​algae and crustaceans provide habitat, feeding opportunities and refuge for local fisheries and non-fish species
  • Mitigation Bank

Additionally, shellfish farming and seaweed aquaculture are more ecologically beneficial and sustainable than land-based farming – they require no fertilizers, pesticides, added nutrients or fresh water. Algae and crustaceans absorb all of their nutrient needs through sunlight and the surrounding water and no waste is produced.

Economically, the port will collect royalties as the project develops and generates revenue and the project will inform future aquaculture operations and ecosystem services research in and around San Diego Bay and the surrounding area. other ports in the state.

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