- Animals: other
- Animal Production: aquaculture
Seaweed and shellfish aquaculture is a fast-growing industry in Maine, but most farms rely on only one crop and lack diversification options. Green sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis) represent an opportunity for multi-cropping on aquaculture farms, especially if seaweed can be cultivated on the farm for feed. This project proposes to develop integrated grow out strategies for green sea urchins and sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima) for existing oyster and kelp farms in Maine. Hatchery raised juvenile green sea urchins will be cultured alongside sugar kelp on two sea farms to determine growth rate, the feasibility of year-round production of algal feed, and to develop farm integration strategies for oyster and seaweed farms. Results will be shared with the industry through online media and through a one day workshop to be hosted by the Maine Seaweed Exchange.
Project objectives from proposal:
Goal: To develop year-round integrated grow-out strategies for green sea urchins and sugar kelp that can be incorporated into existing sea farms in Maine.
Objectives: This project seeks to:
Objective 1: Determine year-round growth rates of green sea urchins reared on farmed sugar kelp and wild set algae in sea cages at two different sea farm sites in Maine
Outcomes: Data will inform cultivation strategies and determine growth rates for urchin grow-out utilizing locally grown feed on sea farms in Maine
Objective 2: Develop year-round cultivation strategies for sugar kelp and wild set algae to be utilized as feed for sea urchins
Outcomes: Strategies for successful year-round production of sugar kelp and wild set algae to be utilized as environmentally sustainable urchin feed
Objective 3: Characterize unique farm seasonality to determine integration needs and opportunities
Outcomes: Farm management plans for oyster and seaweed farms in Maine to allow for successful urchin and kelp feed integration