January 08, 2018
Barry Costa-Pierce, Ph.D., Henry L. & Grace Doherty Professor of Marine Sciences, director of the University of New England Department of Marine Sciences and Center for Excellence in the Marine Sciences, has been quoted in a Civil Eats article regarding the boom in Maine’s seaweed farming industry.
The piece, titled “Is seaweed the next big thing in sustainable food?” discusses the growth of seaweed aquaculture in the U.S. A longtime dietary staple in Asia, seaweed is now becoming more popular as a health food across the nation.
Maine has recently taken the lead in seaweed production, with sugar kelp emerging as the most frequently cultivated variety. Geographical advantages, including 3,000 miles of coastline and waters protected from the open ocean, make Maine an ideal place for sugar kelp to grow. Furthermore, with seaweed season running opposite lobster season, many lobstermen are able to farm during their off-season.
A key advantage to seaweed farming is its positive impact on the environment. It is a renewable food resource produced in a low-impact way, and its ability to absorb carbon dioxide helps to protect marine ecosystems. These attributes also make seaweed a sustainable solution for feeding a growing global population.
Discussing the challenges of producing enough food for the world, Costa-Pierce said, “If you look at all the projections, from the United Nations and the top agricultural experts … there is no way that there is going to be the kind of food production that they’re saying needs to happen without massive destruction.”
He continued, “If we want to maintain some sort of semblance of terrestrial biodiversity, we have to learn to farm the ocean sustainability. A lot of the food we need can come from the area of the planet that we don’t occupy as much.”
To learn more about the University of New England’s Department of Marine Sciences visit www.une.edu/cas/marine
To learn more about the University of New England’s Center for Excellence in Marine Sciences, visit www.une.edu/research/msc
To apply, visit www.une.edu/admissions