Ocean Farming and Marine Permaculture

[Seaweed, habitat restoration, food, and carbon sequestration]

Brian Von Herzen from The Climate Foundation just blowing my mind continually: seaweed cleans ocean water, restores marine ecosystems, highly nutritious for people, removes (or “exports”) CO2, used as bio-plastic and bio-fuel, AND even reduces emissions from cattle by 90% when they eat seaweed (ranchers double as environmentalists when using nutrient rich soil and super-foods like these)!
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Sea grass, nori, and grape stone seaweeds from The Sea Vegetable Company in Mendocino, CA (photo by @olymperabate)

Seaweeds are primary producers, meaning that they use light from the sun to photosynthesize and produce nutrients, including carbon, directly from the water column to grow. Both wild and farmed seaweeds can serve as “carbon sinks” by removing carbon from the water column and storing it in their tissues (ref: https://envirobites.org/…/can-seaweed-farming-help-fight-c…/).
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Macroalgae can produce between 2 and 14 kilograms (organic carbon generated per square meter per year), whereas terrestrial plants, such as trees and grasses in temperate climates, and microalgae can generate only about 1 kilogram. The enormous productivity of macroalgae can possibly be best illustrated by the fact that the largest brown algae can grow up to half a meter a day.

How to Build a Kelp Forest

Hatcheries are used to harvest spores with spools of twine in an aquarium. The spores grow to amenophytes, which then grow into sporophytes. Once amenophytes grow to 2 – 3 mm long, they may be wound around thicker rope to be set into sea. Can also be grown into polyethelene tubing to effectively create a aquaponics system with nutrient input.

How to Eat It

Seaweed is common in many Asian foods, but not as much American cuisine. But why? Studies have shown that tumor rates have decreased in these cultures and have been monitored in rat studies that have been introduced to seaweed in their diet. The health benefits go on: high omega 3 (EPA), DHA, tons of antioxidants, etc.

Best way to eat: stir fry on a wok or thrown in with an Asian style dish. In South East Asia, people commonly blanch the seaweed for a few seconds and toss it into a salad with a vinaigrette. Seaweed is also a great soup broth, although certain species can be very thick and almost mucusy. All-in-all, it is incredibly nutritious and delicious when using the right types. I use fucus, nori, and sea lettuce raw or in a stir fry mix. ( https://marleyfamilyseaweeds.com/recipes/ )

How to store it: dry it or… ferment it. Drying it is common, but will also oxidize it and, therefore, remove the antioxidants (as well as some of the fatty acids). By fermenting it, it will become shelf stable for months (at least), however it is still being researched.

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