A fascinating aspect of AOA Ocean Aquaculture Seaweed Farming is that it solves several critical threats affecting our oceans and global culture all at once.
What is the sustainability of an Ocean Farm?
Ocean Farms accomplish a sustainable model in various ways such:
They reduce excess nutrients that arise from nearshore runoff of fertilizers and land-based chemicals, thus countering the impact of these excessive nutrients that cause “dead zones” in the Ocean.
They reduce acidification and sequester carbon thus mitigating Climate Change, saving our shoreline communities and cities.
Ocean Farms work on a Zero Waste philosophy: The seaweed works as an air purifier while it is in the ocean waters, then after harvesting it is converted into food, either wet and dry. No part of the process is thrown away or discarded.
What kinds of seaweed do the AOA Ocean farms produce?
Ocean Farms are designed to produce several types of seaweeds. In Main, there are 10 types of commercial seaweeds produced. All 10 of these types are used for food and supplements as well as nutritious animal feed, fertilizer and soil conditioners, biofuels, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, packaging, textiles, and skincare. And is designated a superfood.
How is the farm harvested?
Cultivated seaweeds, particularly Kelp seaweeds are grown using Long Lines of rope that are suspended 5 to 10 feet below the ocean surface and anchored to the seabed. This enables recreational and commercial shipping to pass over farms without incident. Buoys mark farm boundaries. Smaller “lobster floats” along the lines are labeled “Sea Farm”. “Seed Strings” of approximately 150’ in length are cultivated on spools under pristine lab conditions that contain millions of seaweed larvae. The Seed Strings are transported to the farm site and wrapped around the Long Lines for November planting. These seeds grow out into Kelp blades several meters in length over the winter months. The kelp is harvested in the spring and sold as wet product or dried and transformed into a broad range of products.
What are the nutritional benefits of the Ocean Farm seaweed?
Kelp seaweed contains over 79 nutrients including vitamins, minerals, proteins in the form of essential amino acids, and micronutrients that are essential to good health. Kelp, for example, has more vitamin C than orange juice. Seaweed has more fiber than brown rice, more calcium than milk and more iron than spinach. The high Iodine in Kelp and many other seaweed species is essential for thyroid health. Regular intake of seaweeds is known to foster weight loss, effectively treat diabetes, improve blood chemistry and reduce bone loss.
Is the farm product organic?
The product cannot be more organic! There are no fertilizers used in this process. The ocean water contains all the nutrients needed to grow Kelp.
How many people can the farm feed?
A 10-acre Ocean Farm such is designated to produce approximately 70,000 pounds of wet weight Kelp (assuming a 4 oz. serving of wet Kelp per serving). The Kelp harvested per season provides 280,000 servings. Dry weight Kelp is the form of powder or flakes is calculated on a 10:1 ratio, wet weight to dry weight or 7,000 pounds of dry Kelp. That’s a lot of Kelp!
How does it benefit the local economy?
A goal of AOA in Main is to expand production of seaweed in Ocean Farms into the offshore EEZ in the next 5 to 10 years to capture 1% of Global Market for seaweed. This will expand growth and is estimated to create over 3,000 jobs in Main alone.
Are there any downsides to or ecological concerns with Ocean Farming at this scale?
Any large-scale operation requires continual environmental monitoring. Aquaculture farms of this design, however, will result in eco-system benefits that can be proven to have key beneficial impacts on ocean health parameters (see Q.4). On-going measurements of ocean water quality and also lab analyses of Kelp composition monitors product quality.
Is AOA unique in its concept?
Yes AOA will be the first certified Kelp Farm in the US and worldwide. We can mitigate climate change on a large scale creating a clean, abundant planet for future generations.