In attempt to meet the increased demand for seaweed, aquaculture producers are working to expand the North American seaweed farming industry. However, efforts to strengthen the industry have highlighted the need to address emerging challenges. “Processing capabilities, long term nursery production, and competition with imports” are among the most prevalent concerns says Anoushka Concepcion, an Extension educator with Connecticut Sea Grant. Concepcion is leading the National Seaweed Hub, a collaborative effort of 11 Sea Grant programs in the United States addressing the needs of the seaweed industry.
Join us for the New England Kelp Harvest Week celebration April 20th through April 30th!
Connecticut Sea Grant has been collaborating with the state’s aquaculture industry to develop sugar kelp farming and a market for the product. This week kelp famers are partnering with restaurants across Connecticut to provide tasty dishes with locally grown kelp. Support the local kelp industry by visiting one of the restaurants participating and spread the word to your friends and family. You can also learn how to incorporate kelp into your meals at one of the cooking classes offered by New England Kelp Harvest. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity.
The collapse of the lobster fishery in the late 1990s forced many lobstering families to find alternative ways to make a living on the water. While many transitioned into shellfish aquaculture, one lobsterman was interested in adding a new crop into his business: sugar kelp. DJ King (King Lobsters) cultivates shellfish and sugar kelp on his underwater leases. Anoushka Concepcion and Connecticut Sea Grant staff have been working with Mr. King, and others, to find successful ways to expand kelp farming in Long Island Sound. In this video, Mr. King briefly explains why he made the transition into kelp farming, what he most enjoys about farming kelp and some of the challenges he faces.
Anoushka Concepcion, one of our Extension educators with Connecticut Sea Grant, and Holly Turner-Moore, from the Bridgeport Aquaculture High School, introduce students to Kelp Farming during their presentation in the NOAA Live! Webinar Series.
After tasting rice pilaf with carrots, peppers and kelp, grilled shrimp wrapped in kelp leaves, baked salmon topped with leeks and kelp and manicotti stuffed with mushrooms and kelp, restaurant owner Chris Szewczyk is eager to incorporate the Connecticut-grown seaweed into his menu.
“It’s an exciting product,” said Szewczyk, owner of Taino Smokehouse in Middletown.
Standing nearby in the kitchen of the Sheraton Hartford South in Rocky Hill was Lydell Carter, sous-chef at the hotel restaurant. Between forkfuls of the various dishes, Carter said he, too, is a convert to the possibilities of cooking with kelp.
“I definitely see it’s very versatile,” he said. “I really liked it with the shrimp. I like the flavor profile and the texture.”