The Sea Grant network established the National Seaweed Hub to serve as a science-based, non-advocate resource for the domestic seaweed aquaculture industry and associated sectors. The National Seaweed Hub serves as a mechanism to address emerging challenges, share information, foster collaboration and ensure resource developed in response to various stakeholder needs are publicly accessible.

In order to better understand the current needs and challenges for all seaweed sectors across the country a comprehensive needs assessment of nine sectors including prospective farmers, current farmers, regulators, processors, culinary professionals, researchers, non-profits, federal agencies, and others was conducted in January 2020. Common needs were identified across multiple sectors, leading to the formation of topical stakeholder-driven Work Groups.

The first Sea Grant National Seaweed Symposium, held in Providence, RI in March of 2020, brought seaweed stakeholders from across the country to collaboratively address challenges, find solutions to needs, and pursue realistic opportunities to expand the emerging seaweed aquaculture industry. The National Seaweed Symposium included presentations on the global and national industries, and the results of the national needs assessment. In addition to establishing formal topical stakeholder-driven Work Groups, opportunities for multiple seaweed sectors to network and learn about one another’s challenges were also provided.

Virtual Work Groups were comprised of a diverse group of dedicated individuals from industry, regulatory authorities, processors, culinary professionals, researchers, and others who are committed to tackling barriers preventing domestic seaweed aquaculture from expanding and find practical solutions. Guided by trusted Sea Grant Extension professionals, Work Groups went through a series of exercises to prioritize challenges achievable in the short, medium and long-term.

Project Award

In 2019, a network of 10 Sea Grant programs were awarded a total of $1.1 million in federal funds to establish a National Sea Grant Seaweed Hub. This collaborative hub has since grown to include a total of 12 Sea Grant programs, to serve as a central clearinghouse for science-based, non-advocacy, practical resources about seaweed aquaculture research and outreach efforts.

The hub will provide a mechanism to share information about seaweed products and cultivation that will enable various seaweed sectors to address challenges, pursue marketing opportunities and make informed decisions. These sectors include current and prospective farmers, regulators, researchers, product developers and end-users of edible and non-edible uses for seaweed.

For more information about the Seaweed Hub and ways you can contribute or participate, please contact your participating state’s Sea Grant Program.

Led by Connecticut Sea Grant, the Seaweed Hub is managed and facilitated through partnerships and collaborations with the National Sea Grant Law Center, and with Sea Grant programs in Alaska, California, Hawai’i, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and Woods Hole, MA.

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Keolani Booth shared a jar of dried seaweed he harvested to sprinkle on salad at the lunch buffet.

Keolani Booth, who gave one of the keynote addresses at the 2023 Seaweed Symposium, shared a jar of dried seaweed he harvested to sprinkle on salad at the lunch buffet after his talk.

kelp string

Andrew AJ Bonett with DJ King kelp crop, Branford 2016