• Certifications Matter

    MSE Offers Certification of Seaweed Products and Farmers

    MSE Seaweed Farmer Certification

    MSE Certified Seaweed Farmers are professionals.

    Professionals recognize the value of rigorous and comprehensive training. The MSE Seaweed Farmer Certification Program was developed in conjunction with the University of Massachusetts-Boston. Being an MSE Certified Seaweed Farmer brings the recognition that you are professional-grade and committed to best practices in seaweed aquaculture and food safety, as well as possessing a robust understanding of the business of seaweed farming. Contact us to learn more.


    New Class Announced!


    The MSE is offering a Seaweed Aquaculture Certification Program through the University of Massachusetts. These are in person courses offered in Gouldsboro Maine and in Boston Massachusetts. This one-day remote intensive is a substantive overview of the certification program and is a unique opportunity to get up to speed quickly while identifying areas of interest and the certification modules that can most enhance your seaweed farming credentials!


    This one-day intensive program provides the essentials of growing, harvesting and post-harvesting handling and processing of farmed seaweed as well as covering many other important issues in aquaculture such as leasing, regulatory compliance, business panning, and sales channels. This is must-attend program if you are a new or experienced farmer looking to learn best practices and identify gaps in your seaweed knowledge.

    Topics include:
    • Introduction and Basics 
    • Business Planning
    • Site Selection and Permitting
    • Gear and Gear Placement
    • Nursery, Seed Selection, and Seeding
    • Tending the Farm
    • Harvest and Post Harvest Handling
    • Processing: HACCP
    • Marketing and Sales
    • Biosecurity
    • Aquaculture BMPs and BAPs- Ethics
    • Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture
    Sessions will be held via Zoom with a one hour break for lunch. Comprehensive digital materials are supplied.


    • Dates: Saturday January 16, 2021, February 20, 2021, or March 20, 2021.
    • Times: 9:30am to 4:30pm EST with a one hour break for lunch.
    • Location:  Remote - Zoom.
    • Cost:  $175 per person.
    • Register Here:  Registration Form.





    Course offerings for the UMass certification program are:


    MODULE 1. Seaweed Farming 101: Introduction and Basics (2 in-person days)

    Experiential Learning Location: Depending on cohort. Maine/Boston--includes on water session.

    Online Content:

    1. Review global seaweed industry and growing methods;

    2. Review domestic industry and opportunities/challenges;

    3. Discuss different species and growing attributes, product applications;

    4. Overview of seaweed aquaculture including life cycle algae, farm design, farming methods;

    5. Discuss sites and regional growing areas;

    6. Overview of products and markets;

    In-Person Content: Visit active farms, review of operations at sites including production components, hands-on experience with site location specs, regional infrastructure, and business markets.



    Prepare a market study based on a geographic region of your choice to promote and develop a sustainable seaweed industry.


    MODULE 2a. Seaweed Farming 102a: Business Planning

    Location: Depending on cohort. Maine/Boston. Two Day Session with 102b.

    When: Spring and Fall


    1. Introduction

      1. Seaweed Business as a Business

    2. Business Planning

      1. Business Plan

        1. Scope

        2. Goals

      2. Investor Decks

      3. Funding Sources

        1. Grants

        2. Loans

        3. Venture Capital

        4. Angel Investors- Friends and Family

        5. Crowdfunding

    3. Form Of Business

      1. Employees/Contractor/Self Employed

      2. Sole Proprietorship

      3. Partnership

      4. Limited Liability Company

      5. Corporation

      6. Entity Name Search/Use

      7. Filings- FEIN, Formation Documents

      8. Operating Agreements

    4. Personal Liability

    5. Company Credit

    6. Tax Issues/Accounting

      1. Entity

      2. Sales And Use Tax

      3. Employment/Self Employment Taxes

      4. Business Expenses/Office Expense/Capital Expenses

      5. Basic Accounting

        1. Chart of Accounts

        2. Quickbooks

      6. Record Keeping-Grants


    MODULE 2b. Seaweed Farming 102b: Day Two-Business Planning
    Location: Depending on cohort. Maine/Boston. Two Day Session with 102a.
    When: Spring and Fall


    1. Regulatory Compliance

      1. Licensing

      2. Zoning

      3. Unfair And Deceptive Practices

      4. Consents/Waivers

      5. Leases/Licenses

        1. Standard Lease- $100/acre; $1,500 application; Bond; Reporting

        2. Harvester License/Dealer License

      6. Regulations-DMR, FDA, ISSC, Army Corp., Coast Guard, HACCP

      7. FDA/USDA/State/Local

    2. Business Related Issues

      1. Insurance

        1. USDA Farm Insurance

        2. Liability

        3. Boats

        4. Workers Comp/Jones Act

        5. Health

      2. Advertising/Marketing

      3. Website

      4. Social Networking/Media: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin

      5. Public Relations

      6. Networking

      7. IP- Intellectual Property

      8. Productivity Tools

    3. Potential Market Opportunities

      1. Work With Distributors/Dealers/Exchange

      2. Own Products

      3. Consulting Practice

      4. Education/Articles/Seminars


    Prepare a business plan. Incorporate insights gleaned from your market study to create a compelling business model for a seaweed related product or service.


    MODULE 3a. Site Selection and Permitting

    Location: Maine/Boston

    When: Spring or Summer


    1. Deep dive into permitting applications for Maine, Mass, and other states based on cohort interest.

    2. Use Google Earth and nautical charts and other online resources to determine preliminary site locations;

    3. Examine characteristics of a good site, including currents, tides, bottom topography, salinity.

    4. Discuss how to do onsite surveys, how to locate wild beds, identify access points;

    5. Discuss site characteristics that may impact suitability such as being near sewage discharge pints, conflicts with existing fisheries, determining whether waters are approved, conditionally approved, or closed;

    6. Discuss how site location affects farm layout;

    7. Examine and discuss Army Corp of Engineers application and permit requirements;

    8. Examine successful and unsuccessful completed permits;

    9. Explore how to get approvals and work with regulators, agencies, industry members, and the public;

    10. Discuss community outreach.


    MODULE 3b. Gear and Gear Placement

    Location: Maine/Boston-includes on water session.

    When: Summer


    1. Discuss farm design;

    2. DIscuss gear options;

    3. Design, build and deploy a sample farm from provided components.



    Identify a suitable site for a seaweed farm and prepare a draft aquaculture lease application incorporating a farm design and layout of your own creation and tailored to your selected site.


    MODULE 4a. Nursery, Seed Selection, and Seeding

    Location: Maine/Boston

    When: Summer or Fall


    1. Discuss local genetics and what species will grow in local waters;

    2. Examine nursery process, including selecting reproductive tissue, preparing reproductive tissue for spore release, seeding seed spools, set-up of seeding tanks;

    3. Handling and transporting spools.


    MODULE 4b. Tending the Farm

    Location: Maine/Boston-includes on water session

    When: Winter or Spring


    1. Discuss the “what” and “when” of seaweed aquaculture including seasonality and growth cycles;

    2. Discuss tending boat design and use;

    3. Discuss harvest vessel design and use;

    4. Discuss how to check on gear and farm through grow-out periods;

    5. Examine ways to adjust farm gear to deal with weather, failure, and seaweed growth qualities;

    6. Discuss what you look for and measure to monitor your farm and set benchmarks;

    7. Discuss impacts of currents, waves, light at different times of the year;

    8. DIscuss dealing with storms and the use of temp lines to farm enhance structural integrity;

    9. DIscuss raising and lower lines to enhance grow out and to accommodate growing seaweed characteristics (floating, sinking).

    10. Draft boat safety plans and how to assure a safe farm and work environment.



    Prepare a farm plan that includes proposed species, planting and harvesting times, and incorporates both demand planning and farm safety elements.


    MODULE 5a. Harvest and Post Harvest Handling

    Location: Maine/Boston-includes on water session

    When: Spring


    1. Discuss harvest boat use and operations;

    2. Discuss suitable dock facilities and post-harvest handling;

    3. Use of technology, remote sensors, drones;

    4. Discuss impacts of currents, wind, and waves on harvesting;

    5. Discuss drying, packaging and extract manufacture;

    6. Discuss trimming, washing, and fouling;

    7. Discuss food safety and documentation of harvest.


    MODULE 5b. Processing: HACCP

    Location: Maine/Boston.

    When: Fall or Winter


    1. Discuss critical control points and data sources;

    2. Identify difficulties in determining critical control points;

    3. Examine potential pathogens and contaminants;

    4. Draft sample HACCP and SSOP procedures.



    Identify a seaweed product and develop a food safety and HACCP plan for that product.


    MODULE 6. Marketing and Sales

    Location: Maine/Boston.

    When: Fall or Winter


    1. Discuss product development;

    2. Explore product options and challenges/opportunities;

    3. Explore distribution channels and requirements;

    4. Discuss third-party certification, certificates of analysis, labeling regulations;

    5. Examine marketing channels;

    6. Discuss brands and brand development;

    7. Examine requirements for FDA/USDA Organic and other certification and production requirements as impacts labeling and sales.



    Identify a seaweed product and prepare a detailed marketing and sales plan for that product crossing over at least two distribution channels.


    MODULE 7a. Biosecurity

    Location: Maine/Boston.

    When: Fall or Winter


    Examine and discuss two (2) levels of biosecurity:

    1. MACRO: Moving one species to another location. Pests and invasives. Discourage introducing non-local genetics.

    2. MICRO: Control in your own facilities, such as pests and cross contamination.


    MODULE 7b. Aquaculture BMPs and BAPs- Ethics

    Location: Maine/Boston.

    When: Fall or Winter


    1. Evaluate available resources to create enhanced product quality and safety;

    2. Review all specifics around the technical aspects of best management practices;

    3. Third-party certifications and how they add value and are required to sell to certain customers.


    MODULE 7c. Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture

    Location: Maine/Boston.

    When: Fall or Winter


    1. Explore multi-trophic options;

    2. Maximizing gear and site utilization through diversified aquaculture;

    3. Encourage exploration of new and diverse species on the farm to support sustainable and restorative practices;

    4. Examine specific gear associated with alternate species.



    Develop a conceptual model for a multi-trophic aquaculture farm that includes seaweed and draft an application for a third-party certification, e.g., for MSC certification.


    Courses can be taken individually and not in sequence, however, all twelve (12) must be completed to earn a certificate.

    MSE Certified Products

    Assures customers the highest quality traceable products.

    Obtaining MSE Certification of your products may not be easy, but it tells the world that you are committed to a safe, traceable and sustainable food system. Contact us to learn more.

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