The potential benefits of both land-based and open water-based seaweed farming are numerous, including carbon capture and local amelioration of ocean acidification, food security, and supporting livelihoods of coastal communities. Interest and investment in developing science and technology for seaweed farming as a carbon dioxide removal (CDR) pathway is rapidly expanding, prompting the need to also consider broader risks and costs associated with seaweed aquaculture. At the same time, California’s regulatory and permitting landscape can be a significant barrier to expansion of this sector, in addition to the challenges of incorporating emerging science, and building new markets in the state for potential end uses like biofuels.
Beginning in May 2022, this initiative aims to:
- Explore opportunities for seaweed farming to contribute to California’s habitat, climate, and blue economy goals
- Discuss best available science on the co-benefits and uses of kelp and other seaweeds and identify research needs for California
- Explore barriers and opportunities for advancing responsible and scalable seaweed farming in California from a management a regulatory perspective
Our intent is that these discussions can illuminate strategic investments in research and pathways for the development of a responsible, sustainable aquaculture program in California that maximizes the many co-benefits offered by seaweed farming, while being attentive to social, economic and ethical risks.