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B.C. - Coastal First Nation gets a taste of success with seaweed

A small First Nation on the coast in B.C. is starting to reap the rewards of taking a risk on seaweed farming.

A small First Nation on the coast in B.C. is starting to reap the rewards of taking a risk on seaweed farming.

The Klahoose First Nation is among the first coastal communities to partner with Cascadia Seaweed in an attempt to scale up kelp aquaculture along the West Coast.

The partners seeded their first kelp lines at a couple Klahoose shellfish sites in the waters off Cortes Island in December.

And this April, a bountiful crop of sugar kelp was hauled out of the waters above the Klahoose's seabed geoduck operation, said Bruno Pereira, manager of the nation's economic development arm, the Qathen Xwegus Management Corporation (QXMC).

"We're really pleased. It grows like a weed," Pereira said, adding QXMC couldn't be happier with the fledgling operation and partnership.

"We anticipated a fast pace of growth because around Cortes, we have these amazing, amazing waters."

Cultivating seaweed allows the Klahoose to diversify economically, and make better use of its aquaculture assets in the short term, Pereira said. It also provides job opportunities for Klahoose members.

Kelp typically grows within a six-month period, while geoducks take seven years to reach market size.

What's more, there are likely environmental benefits for shellfish operations growing near seaweed, Pereira added.

Being at the forefront of the emerging seaweed farming movement is important to the Klahoose, which plans to expand its kelp operation over the next two years. #BC #Seaweed #Aquaculture

"I'm no scientist, but I understand seaweed is a critical player for (ecosystem) health and balancing the PH of water," he said.

"It can help anything living in water, but in our case, why not give a little boost to our geoducks as well?"

Read also First offshore seaweed farm established in US tropical waters  The Fish Site

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