In the not so distant future, the waters off of Kodiak may find itself host to another seaweed farm. The Department of Natural Resources announced Tuesday a new proposed 10-year lease of a 14-acre kelp farm up for public comment.
The lease was requested by Chloe Ivanoff, Hailey Thompson, and Clifton Ivanoff doing business as Kelp Island Alaska. The farm would be east of Holiday Island, less than a mile from the city shoreline.
Chloe Ivanoff grew up in Kodiak, in a fishing family. She studied aquaculture in a class put on by Alaska Sea Grant last spring.
“There’s a lot we have to learn about it. There’s a couple farms in Alaska but as it’s pretty small, the information that’s out there is often word of mouth and who you know,” Ivanoff said.
According to Chloe Ivanoff, the kelp would likely be for sale to an in-state buyer, who would process the kelp and sell it in different seafood products. That’s a common strategy for other local kelp farms.
There’s time yet to go before work could begin on a kelp farm- likely several months, should it be approved. After the public comment period, there is a final finding and a decision is reached. After that, there is an appeal period, during which concerned citizens or the potential farmers can appeal the Department of Natural Resources decision.
The process would take a bare minimum of two months. The public comment period closes 5 p.m. January 3.
Brent Reynolds, a natural resource specialist for the Department of Natural Resources says that Kodiak is at the center of a growing community of Alaska seaweed farmers.
“The increase is very similar to other areas within South Central. In the last few years, there has been a definite increase of interest for aquatic farms, for requests for information about aquatic farms, the application process, the overall process of what goes into it, and especially within the Kodiak Island area, as well as throughout South Central,” Reynolds said.
If approved, the farm would join six other seaweed farms in the Kodiak Island area, with four of those being in the vicinity of the City of Kodiak. A copy of the Department of Natural Resources notice and information on how to submit a public comment can be found here.