Mariculture is a growth industry with kelp and seaweed from saltwater farms being sold for food, healthcare items, and a wide range of cutting edge products. And commercial shellfish farms are a thriving industry in several regions of coastal Alaska.
Those interested in learning more about local mariculture or who are considering getting into the business may want to attend a conference being held at Kodiak College today and tomorrow (Tues and Wed).
“Introduction to Mariculture in the Kodiak Region” is an all-day program hosted by the Kodiak Archipelago Leadership Institute—or KALI—whose mission is to support the long-term sustainability of the Kodiak region’s small coastal communities.
In recent years, KALI and its partners have worked to establish small farms in Larsen Bay, Old Harbor, Ouzinkie and Port Lions. This week’s mariculture event is designed to help develop working relationships between researchers, current mariculture farmers and key agency personnel, according to the event packet.
The agenda is filled with speakers on topics such as kelp farming, shellfish opportunities, and the seaweed market for Kodiak growers. Tomorrow (Wed.) includes workshops on the State of Alaska’s Aquatic Farming Program, leasing, federal permitting and water quality issues.
Paula Dobbyn is the communications manager for Alaska Sea Grant which will have local representatives at the event.
“We’ll have three people there from See Grant. Quentin Fong, who’s our seafood marketing specialist, and he’s going to be giving a synopsis of the seaweed market and how it relates to Kodiak.
“We’ll also have Chris Sannito there. He’s a seafood technology specialist. And he’s gonna be speaking about kelp and the development of kelp and other considerations regarding getting into the kelp farming business.
“And then finally we’ll have Julie Matweyou at the workshop. She’s an expert in paralytic shellfish poisoning.”
The event is open to the public and free of charge. It’s being held in the Benny Benson Building at the college from 9 to 4:30 both days.