Innovative Incorporation of Green Sea Urchins on Seaweed Farms: Optimizing Uni Yields and Flavor Profiles for Harvest and Sale

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2024: $30,000.00
Projected End Date: 05/31/2026
Grant Recipient: Springtide Seaweed, LLC
Region: Northeast
State: Maine
Project Leader:
Sarah Redmond
Springtide Seaweed, LLC


  • Animals: other


  • Animal Production: aquaculture

    Proposal summary:

    This project aims to develop the final stage of green sea urchin
    aquaculture on our seaweed farm, from pre-harvest conditioning,
    to harvest, to marketing of new unique high-value sea urchin
    crops. To better understand seasonality of natural reproductive
    cycles on our farm, we will sample urchins throughout the year to
    determine gonad development, maturity, spawning, and roe quality,
    and correlate with environmental data. Urchins will be fed an
    optimal diet of mixed kelps to enhance uni, and individual
    seaweed species will be tested to determine unique flavor
    profiles that might be imparted before harvest. Sea urchins will
    be harvested and held in seawater tanks at our facility where we
    will test several different packing and shipping methods to
    determine best post harvest and handling protocols. Seafood
    markets and chefs will be consulted for feedback about their
    interest in the product, which will help inform business plans
    and an economic feasibility report on sea urchin aquaculture in
    Maine. These business plans, reports, and farming techniques will
    be shared with the wider aquaculture community as a new
    diversification option.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Objective 1:
    Determine the patterns of reproduction and spawning of farmed
    urchins and correlate with environmental variables to better
    understand seasonality.

    Objective 2:
    Develop a feeding regime that will ensure consistent high quality
    uni at harvest.

    Objective 3:
    Test three different specific seaweed species to determine unique
    flavor profiles to customize finishing diets.

    Objective 4:
    Develop harvest, post harvest handling, and marketing strategies
    for farmed sea urchins.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.