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    A Non-Profit Dedicated to Aquacultured Seaweed Education, Research & Advocacy.

    Organic, Sustainable, Restorative.

     

  • New Course!

    Seawed Farming Intensive:
    Focus on Alaria Esculenta and
    complementary species!

    NEW SUMMER SESSION ADDED!

    In Person and Zoom

    Friday to Sunday, August 2-4 and October 11-13, 2024

    9:30 AM to 4:30 PM ET

    Register Here For August Session

    Register Here For October Session

     

    The seaweed industry is at a crossroad with farmers finding limited markets and new seaweed products failing to gain traction. New farmers and existing farmers that hope to survive this quickly changing market will need to adapt by using best practices, growing appropriate species, and growing complementary species like sea urchins, scallops, or oysters.

    The threats are real:

    • Mislabeling is rampant. As far as the FDA is concerned, kelp are seaweeds from the family Macrocystis and Laminaria. Thus, products containing rockweed (Ascophyllum nodosum) or other species labelled as "kelp" are mislabelled and are considered adulterated. Many labels are in violation of California Prop 65 as well as FDA labelling guidelines.
    • All kelp is not equal. Sugar and skinny kelp have 7 times more iodine than alaria, and even 1 teaspoon of dried sugar kelp powder has nearly 5 times the FDA maximum allowable amount of iodine. These levels present health risks and threaten the viability of products made from this seaweed.
    • Sugar kelp production has far exceeded demand with prices stagnating at less than 75 cents per pound wet, with many farmers finding no buyers at any price. Massive amounts of excess production capacity currently exists with new capacity coming on line every day. Current farmers can produce over twice the amount of seaweed currently sold. This is the perfect storm for decreasing commodity prices and farmer failures.
    • Current seaweed processors are "dumping" seaweed at low prices thus driving smaller independent producers to the brink of failure. Several CPG products are being sold in Whole Foods and others at pricing that is unsustainable. Several seaweed products that were launched with much fanfare are either off the market or will be soon.
    • The lack of buyers and outlets has resulted in large quantities of seaweed being frozen or mechanically dried with dramatic negative climate impacts due to the release of greenhouse gas emissions-- often over 10 times more than the amount of carbon removed by growing the seaweed being stabilized. Quality of frozen seaweed is inferior and is driving further pricing weakness.
    • The Maine Aquaculture Association recently published the "Maine Seaweed Benchmarking Report" (8/2023). The report highlighted significant issues facing existing farmers:
      • 82% of farmers had gear failures and/or tangled lines;
      • Over 70% had seed failure issues;
      • Over 70% had biofouling issues; and
      • Average seaweed yields were a sub-optimal 4.24 pounds per linear foot of seeded line.
    • These issues support statements by farmers in the report regarding the sustainability of seaweed farming as a business:
      • "Tell new farming people that they can make this a part of their living. But likely not their whole living.”
      • “If it wasn’t for lobstering, kelp wouldn’t even be an option. Lobster pays all the bills and kelp uses the stuff we already have. We have almost everything else for fishing. If you had to go buy a boat to do this with, it wouldn't work."

    Despite these headwinds, there is hope!

     

    This course is designed to provide the essentials of operating a seaweed farm that avoids the issues facing those using the outdated Ocean Approved (Atlantic Sea Farms) Manual methods including:

    • High yield farming techniques-- 20 to 35 pounds per linear foot;
    • Farming design that uses less gear (lower cost) with less risk of gear failure or entanglements (higher profitability);
    • Sourcing good seed-- free seed is not the answer nor is buying seed from nurseries which cannot grow custom seed for your farm using local genetics; and seaweed husbandry that minimizes biofouling.

     

    The course will also cover growing Alaria esculenta, commonly called North American wakame. Alaria is nutrient rich with less iodine, thus safer for use in food and skin care products. It also grows quickly and is more uniform at harvest. An added benefit is its exceptional flavor and versatility.


    The course will also take a deep look at growing complementary species such as green urchins, scallops, and oysters.

     

    This course will also demonstrate the value of starting with LPAs before applying for a standard or experimental lease, as well as seeking year round leases versus leases that require your crop to be harvested before it is ready.

     

    Our program is a mix of hands on and classroom sessions. Participants should arrive Friday evening for our first sessions, with a full day of sessions on Saturday, and a half day of sessions on Sunday. A certificate option is available for those who complete the certificate requirements which are available upon request. A meal option is available. Discount housing is also available.

     

    The program cost is $495. Meal option, two dinners and two lunches, is $50. The certificate option is an additional $200. Zoom option is $395.

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  • What We Do

    The Maine Seaweed Exchange is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the success of seaweed professionals of any experience level. We provide education, advocacy, and access to a network of thoughtful and dedicated members from around the world.

  • Education

    Farmer Certification

    An MSE Seaweed Farmer Certification tells the world that you are a professional with expertise in sustainable aquaculture, food safety, and you have what it takes to grow the finest seaweed in the world. 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. Click here to learn more.

    Educational Programs

    The Maine Seaweed Exchange offers a variety of courses, seminars, and workshops for beginners and experts. These programs offer in depth information on all things seaweed including farming, business, investing and more. Check out our calendar or contact us for more information.

     

    Learn From Others

    Get to know others in the seaweed community though the MSE Facebook group. This group provides the opportunity to network, share experiences and resources, and access the expertise our members have garnered from years of experience. A great place to learn more about seaweed and aquaculture!

  • Advocacy

    Advocacy

    EAT-FOS (Eat Farmed Organic Seaweed)

     

    As demand for seaweed products increases so has pressure on our wild seaweed beds. Kelp forests are disappearing at a rapid rate and wild harvesting seaweeds is accelerating this loss. Seaweed beds are a foundational component of our marine ecosystem and the loss of these beds has a tremendous impact on our oceans and the marine food chain.

    It is imperative we make the shift to farmed seaweeds, especially organic farmed seaweeds.

     

    The key reasons to EAT FOS are:

    Farmed seaweed is sustainable and regenerative. It cleans our oceans, remediates carbon and nitrogen fighting global warming and ocean acidification, and leaves our endangered wild seaweed beds and habitat undisturbed. It also supports local marine communities.

    Organic seaweed is traceable from seed to plate and assures your seaweed was grown in pristine waters. Many non-organic seaweed farms are located in waters closed to shellfish farming and other aquaculture due to known contaminants and pathogens. Organically certified farmed seaweeds are required to be grown in areas free of contamination. USDA Organic certification assures your seaweed is the best available.

    Seaweed, considered a superfood, provides amazing nutritional and health benefits when eaten in moderation. Researchers recommend roughly 5-10 grams of seaweed per day to obtain the majority of benefits seaweed offers. Avoid eating large servings of seaweed as it is so nutrient dense you may ingest too much of a good thing, such as iodine.

     

    Eating farmed organic seaweed assures that you are getting the best seaweed for you and the planet! Make the right choice - buy farmed organic seaweed!

     

    Food Safety

    The MSE is actively developing food safety standards for seaweed aquaculture, processing, and products. We also host food safety training programs and have extensive food safety resource materials available to our members.

     

    Aquaculture Regulation
    The future of our industry relies on a coherent and cogent regulatory rubric. The MSE is advocating for common sense regulations that benefit our members, our industry, our communities, and our planet.

  • Industry Support

    Industry Support

    Kelp Collaborative
    The Kelp Collaborative is a Maine Seaweed Exchange Program designed to encourage the development of an organic network of seaweed farmers and processors. Through training, support, and market opportunities we seek to develop a high quality, high-value seaweed aquaculture industry based on shared values, collaboration, and passion for our work.

     

    Program Highlights:

    The Kelp Collaborative is focused on creating a network of organically certified seaweed farms, drying facilities and processors to scale the industry in a community-based, collaborative way.

    The Kelp Collaborative is open to new or existing seaweed farmers and anyone with an interest in drying or processing seaweed for additional income. MSE will assist farmers, dryers, and processors with required certifications, training, and facilitation services.

    Kelp Collaborative members run their own independent businesses but work together as a larger industry. Members may list offers to buy, sell, distribute, or process farmed seaweed, or offer seaweed related services. Organic certification, shared standards, and shared infrastructure will allow members to work together to grow, dry, process, and sell high quality, high-value seaweeds.

    New Kelp Collaborative members are eligible to paired with a guaranteed a buyer for their seaweed at prices up to $15 per pound!

    Learn more about the Kelp Collaborative here.


    Maine Seaweed Fair

    The Maine Seaweed Fair celebrates all things seaweed! At the fair we share, celebrate, and explore all the ways seaweeds can better us and the environment. There are art and educational presentations, vendors, foods, activities, and demonstrations.

     

    Covid-19 Update: Due to concerns about the health of fair participants and attendees, the 2021 Maine Seaweed Fair has been postponed indefinitely. Stay tuned for updates on a new date for the fair.

     


    Practical Seaweed Farmer Conference
    The Practical Seaweed Farmer Conference is a full day of seaweed farming know-how from industry experts. It is also a unique networking opportunity to meet fellow farmers, researches, investors, and customers.

     

    Covid-19 Update: Due to concerns about the health of conference participants and attendees, the 2021 Practical Seaweed Farmer Conference has been postponed indefinitely. We are currently exploring the possibility of a virtual conference. Stay tuned for updates on a new date for the fair.

     

    Research
    MSE is passionate about advancing the future of seaweed and aquaculture and discovering new ways that seaweed can have a positive effect on the environment. In partnership with our members and leading institutions such as MIT, UMass, and USDA, the MSE is working to develop the technologies of the future.
     

    Industry Support

    Kelp Collaborative
    The Kelp Collaborative is a Maine Seaweed Exchange Program designed to encourage the development of an organic network of seaweed farmers and processors. Through training, support, and market opportunities we seek to develop a high quality, high-value seaweed aquaculture industry based on shared values, collaboration, and passion for our work.

     

    Program Highlights:

    The Kelp Collaborative is focused on creating a network of organically certified seaweed farms, drying facilities and processors to scale the industry in a community-based, collaborative way.

    The Kelp Collaborative is open to new or existing seaweed farmers and anyone with an interest in drying or processing seaweed for additional income. MSE will assist farmers, dryers, and processors with required certifications, training, and facilitation services.

    Kelp Collaborative members run their own independent businesses but work together as a larger industry. Members may list offers to buy, sell, distribute, or process farmed seaweed, or offer seaweed related services. Organic certification, shared standards, and shared infrastructure will allow members to work together to grow, dry, process, and sell high quality, high-value seaweeds.

    New Kelp Collaborative members are eligible to paired with a guaranteed a buyer for their seaweed at prices up to $15 per pound!

    Learn more about the Kelp Collaborative here.


    Maine Seaweed Fair

    The Maine Seaweed Fair celebrates all things seaweed! At the fair we share, celebrate, and explore all the ways seaweeds can better us and the environment. There are art and educational presentations, vendors, foods, activities, and demonstrations.

     

    Covid-19 Update: Due to concerns about the health of fair participants and attendees, the 2021 Maine Seaweed Fair has been postponed indefinitely. Stay tuned for updates on a new date for the fair.

     


    Practical Seaweed Farmer Conference
    The Practical Seaweed Farmer Conference is a full day of seaweed farming know-how from industry experts. It is also a unique networking opportunity to meet fellow farmers, researches, investors, and customers.

     

    Covid-19 Update: Due to concerns about the health of conference participants and attendees, the 2021 Practical Seaweed Farmer Conference has been postponed indefinitely. We are currently exploring the possibility of a virtual conference. Stay tuned for updates on a new date for the fair.

     

    Research
    MSE is passionate about advancing the future of seaweed and aquaculture and discovering new ways that seaweed can have a positive effect on the environment. In partnership with our members and leading institutions such as MIT, UMass, and USDA, the MSE is working to develop the technologies of the future.
     

  • Blog

    What's new in seaweed and aquaculture!

    April 16, 2024
    Kelp farming industry in North America is displaying structural weakness. Kelp has been promoted as a sustainable and potentiallyprofitable business. Early misstepsthough have exposed the industry’s unstable foundation. The fact is that the largest seaweed producers are unprofitable despite...
    Why Seaweed Is Not A Sustainable Food Option. Farmed seaweed, particularly kelp, is often promoted as the future of food. The odds are that it will not be unless the industry makes dramatic changes that will require large investments and changes in the supply chain. Farming kelp removes...
    The Maine Seaweed Exchange is committed to supporting and advancing the farmed seaweed industry. Certification programs, aquaculture training, collaborations, and advocacy are a few of our tools to fulfilling our mission. We are also students and observers of industry trends. Based in Maine we...
  • Events Calendar

    E-Mail us your event information to be included on the calendar!

  • Resources

    Certifications Matters

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    Get Certified

    MSE offer certifications!

    MSE Certified Products Add Value

    Obtaining MSE Certification entitles you to use the MSE Approved label on your products and provides assurance to consumers that your products meet the highest standards. Learn More. (will bring you to certifications page)

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    Seaweed Regulation

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    For New Farmers

    As demand for seaweed products increases so has pressure on our wild seaweed beds. Kelp forests are disappearing at a rapid rate and wild harvesting seaweeds is accelerating this loss. Seaweed beds are a foundational component of our marine ecosystem and the loss of these beds has a tremendous impact on our oceans and the marine food chain.

  • Get Connected

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    Get To Know Fellow Seaweed Lovers!

    Meet others working in (or just passionate about) seaweed on our Facebook Working Group.

    Our Facebook group offers a unique opportunity to connect with seaweed and aquaculture industry experts, as well as others who just love seaweed.

    Click here to join!

  • Community

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    Advocacy Work Groups

    MSE is taking the lead in seaweed aquaculture advocacy.

    MSE is actively forming workgroups to address the issues that affect the farmed seaweed industry, such as the use of non-local seaweed seed.

    Contact us for more information.

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    Kelp Collaborative

    The Kelp Collaborative is a Maine Seaweed Exchange Program designed to encourage the development of an organic network of seaweed farmers and processors to scale the industry with a sustainable community-based model. By providing training, support, and market opportunities to seaweed farmers and processors, we seek to develop high quality, high-value seaweed aquaculture industry based on shared values, collaboration, and passion for our work.

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    EAT-FOS

    As demand for seaweed products increases so has pressure on our wild seaweed beds. Kelp forests are disappearing at a rapid rate and wild harvesting seaweeds is accelerating this loss. Seaweed beds are a foundational component of our marine ecosystem and the loss of these beds has a tremendous impact on our oceans and the marine food chain.

  • Social Feed

    Check out our latest updates!

  • Become a Member

    Join Us!

    As a 501(c)(3) your support of the MSE may be tax deductible. Contact us for more information.

    Our members are located around the world and share a common passion for seaweed aquaculture!
     
     
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    Student Membership

     

    $29

    per year

    • Discounts on MSE Programs
    • Access to our resource library
    • Member Newsletters
    • Networking opportunities
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    Individual Membership

     

    $79

    per year

    • Discounts on MSE Programs
    • Access to resource library
    • Member Newsletters
    • Monthly business spotlights
    • Networking opportunities
    • Gear exchanges/sales
    • Market and co-op opportunities
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    Company Membership

     

    $299

    per year

    • Discounts on MSE Programs
    • Access to resource library
    • Member Newsletters
    • Monthly business spotlights
    • Networking opportunities
    • Gear exchanges/sales
    • Market and co-op opportunities
    • Use of the MSE Member Logo
    • Access to special Company Member events
  • Contact Us

    Don't be afraid to reach out. We would love to hear from you!

    14 Factory Road, Gouldsboro ME 04607
    207-387-0445
  • Support Our Members!

    Company Members Are Highlighted Here - A Benefit of Membership!

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    Founding Member

    Founded by Sarah Redmond, Springtide Seaweed, LLC is the only fully integrated organic seaweed company in the United States.

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    Supporting Member

    Acadia Market, LLC has created the only ERP/CRM B2B/B2C marketplace for seafood and aquaculture producers and processors.

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    Aquaculture Technologies

    Springtide Innovations is creating new technologies for the future of aquaculture.