Parimal M. Rohit writes in that a company seeking to demonstrate the potential of seaweed aquaculture as a source of environmental sustainability and fish farming will receive $137,000 from the Port of San Diego as part of a pilot project under the district’s “Blue Economy” program.

The Port of San Diego’s Board of Port Commissioners formally approved Sunken Seaweed’s pilot program application on July 17. The firm hopes to “demonstrate the feasibility of seaweed aquaculture in San Diego Bay.”

Port district officials awarded Sunken Seaweed funding for one year. Funding for the pilot program was part of the port district’s “Blue Economy” incubator, now in its third round of proposals.

“Sunken Seaweed is an aquaculture start-up company led by two marine ecologists committed to pioneering sustainable, seaweed aquaculture in San Diego Bay. Sunken Seaweed is pursuing the establishment of a seaweed pilot farm in San Diego Bay to cultivate, outplant, grow, and harvest several species of native marine macroalgae as a culinary product, and eventually take to market via direct sale to chefs, distribution companies, and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies,” port district staff told commissioners in a report.

Staff with Sunken Seaweed proposed to use existing pier pilings, ropes, buoys, and anchors to demonstrate the feasibility of seaweed aquaculture in San Diego Bay.

Additionally, Sunken Seaweed will collaborate with kelp ecologists from San Diego State University to optimize kelp farm structure, growout methods, and harvesting techniques, according to the report. “The pilot farm will contribute valuable baseline information to inform future potential of seaweed aquaculture in California.”

“The (port) district’s Blue Economy incubator has received and reviewed more than 80 proposals as part of its Blue Economy program. The incubator represents a launching pad for innovative projects by providing aquaculture and blue tech entrepreneurs with key assets and services focused on pilot project facilitation such as permit-ready infrastructure, entitlements, market access, and strategic funding,” port district staff stated in a report to commissioners.

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