This past week, Julie Decker of Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation, Tomi Marsh of OceansAlaska, and Tamsen Peeples of Koru and Kelp traveled to Unalaska to provide outreach and education on opportunities for new mariculture businesses in Southwest Alaska. After getting turned around for fog on the first flight, the Mariculture Team arrived the following afternoon. The Mariculture Team was first given a tour by the F/V Miss Alyssa of the nearby kelp beds to assess the diversity of local species. Species identified included brown seaweeds (dragon, bull, ribbon, three-ribbed, and split kelps) and a red seaweed (Pyropia). The next day, two public presentations and an open house were held at the Burma Road Chapel, with several well-informed locals who attended. Those who came had a great interest in mariculture, leading to excellent conversations about sites and farm design for growing seaweed, potential products, markets and buyers, and possibilities for growth in the Unalaska area.
Mariculture has recently been a bright spot of growth in Alaska’s economy. New farms are producing seaweed and shellfish from Ketchikan to Kodiak, and interest is growing in parts of Southwest Alaska, with one lease approved in Sand Point and one application pending in Adak. The Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation (AFDF), the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association (APICDA), and SWAMC are partnering to bring mariculture opportunities to communities and individuals interested in Southwest Alaska. Education, outreach, and technical assistance are being provided by mariculture specialist, Tamsen Peeples. Tamsen can help with site analysis, business plans, and applications to the State of Alaska for an aquatic farm. Assistance will be provided through 2021 on a first-come, first-served basis, and it is highly recommended to contact Tamsen prior to September 30 in order to secure this technical assistance. This project is funded by a USDA Rural Development Business Grant.
For more information, contact Tamsen Peeples at email@example.com or Riley Smith of AFDF at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit: www.afdf.org
Copies of materials are available at the Unalaska CVB office.