For the first time, the Seagriculture conference was organized in the United States (US), taking place in the Westin Portland Harborview in Portland, Maine, last 7 and 8 September, with more than 300 assistants. Within seven sessions and several keynote presentations some 27 seaweed experts from North America and Europe spoked numerous industry topics: from using seaweed to benefit the climate to innovative solutions for seaweed farming & processing, seaweed as a natural capital investment and much more.
Seagriculture USA is being supported and sponsored by the state of Maine, the hotspot for the seaweed industry in North America. The conference is being supported and sponsored by Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), Maine Technology Institute (MTI), Maine International Trade Center (MITC) and Maine North Atlantic Development Office (MENADO).
The Seagriculture conference in Europe has been successfully organized since 2012 and has built up a solid reputation as the leading conference for the seaweed industry, Seagriculture USA comes as an addition to the European edition.
Seagriculture USA 2022 is organized by DLG Benelux, a subsidiary of the DLG (German Agricultural Society).
Long list of conferences
The program of Seagriculture USA 2022 included two sessions about the ARPA-E’s Macroalgae Research Inspiring Novel Energy Resources (MARINER) program that seeks to develop the tools to enable the United States to become a global leader in the production of marine biomass.
Presently, macroalgae is primarily used as food for human consumption, but there is a growing opportunity for the production of macroalgae for use as feedstock for fuels and chemicals, as well as animal feed.
Charles Yarish, Professor from the University of Connecticut, presented seaweed aquaculture in the USA, its opportunities, directions, and challenges. Silje Forbord, a Norwegian Senior Research Scientist from SINTEF, talked about upscaling and multiuse of ocean space projects conducted by SINTEF.
Research Specialist from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Scott Lindell presented summary results of four years of selectively breeding sugar kelp. Jeff Hafting from Acadian Seaplants described advancements in Canadian on-land seaweed cultivation.
Three entrepreneurs, Bobbie Lamont from Maine Angels, Gediminas Tamošaitis, CEO of Metal Production & Rocket Cluster, Megan Reilly Cayten from Oceans 2050, gave a pitch about investment opportunities in the seaweed industry and then discuss the future and business aspects with all the delegates in plenary discussions.
For her part, Eliza Harrison from Ocean Rainforest talked about critical regulations for offshore seaweed cultivation and Alyson Myers, the President of Fearless Fund, – scaling seaweed for CO2 removal.
James Morris from NOAA described spatial planning infrastructure that will identify conflicts and opportunities early in the planning and permitting process. Philip Kerrison, a Netherlands Research Specialist from Hortimare, discussed about Palmaria palmata and its cultivation.
Julie Decker presented Alaska Mariculture Initiative that expedites the growth of seaweed in Alaska and Huibert-Jan Zweemer will talk about Innovative solutions for seaweed farming & processing by Murre Technologies, a Netherlands-based company.
Jessica Chalmers, President of Everything Seaweed, spoke about the manufacturing of seaweed nano-fibers. Julia Marsh shared Sway’s approach to solving the plastic problem with the power of seaweed, and Loretta Roberson from Marine Biological Laboratory described best management practices across multiple sites in the Caribbean.
President and CEO of Atlantic Sea Farms, Briana Warner, talked about line-grown seaweed as an umami-packed superfood and close the conference with an Atlantic Sea Farms Live Cooking Event.