There are thousands of species of seaweed globally, all growing in different climates and environments. They grow at different depths, need different temperatures, and like land plants, have a growing season. Farming seaweed in the simplest way, includes management of wild grown batches. More advanced farming techniques include controlling every step of the plants life cycle.

There are three different ways seaweed is harvested in BC – beach cast, wild harvest, and farming, which we will dive into below.

Types of Commercial Farming

Depending on where you are located in the world, and the type of seaweed harvested, farming can look very different. In hotter climates, there a multiple methods to grow and harvest seaweed including on floating bamboo, attached to mangrove stakes, by net, by tubes and more. In colder climates, seaweed is typically grown in land-based tanks or on ocean-based lines.


How to grow Kelp! A sea farm tour from spore to harvest with @cascadiaseaweed.📍Bamfield, BC #seafood #seaweed #kelp #sustainability #britishcolumbia #farmlife

♬ original sound – Get Kelp

Seaweed farming at sea is becoming an increasingly competitive biomass production candidate for food and related uses. With exponential growth over recent decades, farmed seaweed output reached 24 million tons by 2012. However, just eight Asian nations produced 99% of that while most of the world’s 150 countries and territories with coasts were yet to begin seaweed farming.

Science Direct

How to Grow Seaweed

Seaweed growing is broken down into four steps seeding, kelp deployment, harvest, and then processing. Of course in between there’s a lot of growing to do. From capturing the seeds and nurturing baby kelps, to deploying them in the ocean on anchored lines, this process takes up to 6 months.

Take a field trip with us to a local farm in Bamfield and see seaweed cultivation first-hand.

This educational video also shares how Cascadia Seaweed, the number one provider in the Pacific Northwest, utilizes vertical ocean farming and shipping containers.

Meeting the Demand

Globally the seaweed industry faces a major challenge as there is a mismatch between seaweed demand and availability of seaweeds, especially now so as seaweed is being used in new applications like bio-fuel and bio-plastics. The majority of product is currently shipped in from Asia. Growing seaweed commercially in BC will help meet this demand, as long as it is done through regulation and licensing.

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