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Port of San Diego Approves Pilot Project

Sep 19, 2018

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As champions for the safekeeping and environmental care of our diverse ecosystems and as a leader of the Blue Economy in the San Diego region, the Port of San Diego is supporting a pilot project to demonstrate the feasibility and co-benefits of seaweed aquaculture in San Diego Bay.

The Board of Port Commissioners has approved a one-year agreement with Sunken Seaweed LLC., an aquaculture start-up company led by two marine ecologists committed to pioneering sustainable seaweed aquaculture in San Diego. The pilot project is part of the Port’s Blue Economy Incubator, established to assist in the creation, development and scaling of new water-dependent business ventures on San Diego Bay focusing on sustainable aquaculture and Port-related blue technologies.

“There is great potential for growth in the global commercial seaweed market,” said Chairman Rafael Castellanos, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners. “One of the goals of this pilot project with Sunken Seaweed is to obtain valuable baseline information to help inform future potential seaweed aquaculture here in San Diego and throughout California.”

Expanding and developing domestic uses of seaweed include human and animal food production, biofuels, as well as potential for bioremediation, carbon sequestration, and mitigation banking.

Sunken Seaweed will establish its seaweed pilot farm at the northwestern end of Grape Street Pier Number 1 along the North Embarcadero from which various seaweed species will grow from anchored lines. Sunken Seaweed will then conduct biological monitoring surveys and harvest several species of native marine macroalgae (larger seaweed species).

The Port is a long-time champion and catalyst of the region’s Blue Economy with its shipbuilding, commercial fishing, marine research, cruise, and cargo business lines. The Port’s Blue Economy Incubator is a launching pad for aquaculture and blue tech entrepreneurs by providing key assets and a diverse portfolio of services focused on pilot project facilitation. As the state-legislated trustee of tidelands around San Diego Bay, developing sustainable domestic aquaculture and driving blue tech innovation helps fulfill the Port’s public trust responsibility to promote fisheries and commerce, as well as aligning with our mission to enhance and protect the environment.

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