Gracilaria Seaweed Aquaculture Farm Grow-out, Harvest and Marketing

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2022: $27,290.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2023
Grant Recipient: Martino's Seafood, LLC
Region: Northeast
State: Massachusetts
Project Leader:
Dan Martino
Martino's Seafood, LLC


  • Miscellaneous: other


  • Animal Production: aquaculture
  • Education and Training: demonstration, focus group, on-farm/ranch research
  • Farm Business Management: market study
  • Natural Resources/Environment: habitat enhancement
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities

    Proposal summary:

    Aquaculture farms are typically monoculture. New varieties of species are needed to grow the industry, diversify income, and maximize productivity.

    We are seeking to establish a summer seaweed crop on our farm to compliment our winter Kelp seaweed crop and to meet increasing demand for seaweed products while also helping to diversify the aquaculture industry.

    Gracilaria is a very appealing seaweed product. It naturally grows on our farm in the summer, has high market appeal, is an established food source with great texture and flavor and high nutrient content, specifically protein (5-30%). We intend to follow the ground breaking work of Prof. Charles Yarish on the methods used for harvest and grow-out, and we have established Prof. Yarish as our source of Gracilaria seed for the project, and as a technical advisor for the project.

    We intend to become the first commercial farm in the region to specialize in Gracilaria.

    Our successful growth and harvest trials of this crop will help usher in a new product for aquaculture farms across the region, while also generating an eco-friendly, protein rich product for the marketplace. In addition to growth and harvest field trials, a second component of this project is to identify market feedback from chefs and direct consumers to gauge price points and possible recipes using Gracilaria, as well as value added products. 

    Our budget and proposal is for a two year project, where we plan to grow, harvest and market the product for two years. 

    Project objectives from proposal:

    This project seeks to establish a commercial operation for the growth, harvest and marketing of Gracilaria seaweed. We hope to prove the seaweed handbook growout techniques in real world trials, establish a local market for Gracilaria, conduct a market survey to better understand local price and uses for the product, and share our experience with other growers via website, social media and marketing materials. 

    Year one:

    1. We will acquire seed source from the hatchery and successfully deploy onto grow lines on the farm. 
    2. We will document and monitor growth rates
    3. We will begin the first wave of harvesting as the product comes to market size
    4. We will create a market survey for the product, and distribute this survey and free samples to a wide range of clients, from private chefs to direct consumers at the farmers market.
    5. We will continue to harvest, monitor and distribute surveys/product throughout the season
    6. At years end, we will compile survey results, publish all information to our outlets and present findings to MAA farmers.

    Year two will build off the success of year one, implementing the feedback from surveys and establishing a price point for products.

    Year two results will be shared through our outlets.

    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.