It has officially been two months since I started my position as a Restorative Aquaculture Fellow with Oregon Sea Grant and The Nature Conservancy! So far, the fellowship has been a great experience and I’m grateful for this amazing opportunity to network within the restorative aquaculture space and learn more about seaweed farming.
My project involves working with TNC’s Global Aquaculture Strategy Lead, Global Aquaculture Manager, and TNC staff from Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Alaska to explore the potential to invest in and create restorative seaweed aquaculture farms in the Pacific Northwest. A major deliverable of my fellowship will be a situation analysis to better understand challenges and opportunities for Oregon’s seaweed aquaculture industry. Much of my work to date has involved meeting with folks from academia, private industry, NGOs, and state agencies to map out current research, projects, and seaweed farming. I’ve also gotten to do some wild seaweed harvesting in my spare time!
Recently we completed an Oregon learning tour with potential partners to build a shared understanding of farming methods, environmental conditions, and the community context of seaweed aquaculture in the state. We started in Newport, OR with some in-person and virtual presentations focused on a general background for mariculture in Oregon and the restoration of wild kelp. The next day we learned about urchin ranching efforts on the south coast, toured two innovation labs in Newport and headed north to visit Oregon Seaweed’s land-based farm in Garibaldi. We also got lunch at Local Ocean Seafood – my favorite restaurant in Newport.
In the past two months I’ve already gained a deeper understanding of this industry thanks to the help of all the folks I’ve had the opportunity to meet with. I’m very much looking forward to the learning tours we’re planning for Washington and British Columbia in the fall.