Experimental kelp cultivation moorings to come to Catalina

A plan to install and operate five experimental kelp moorings offshore of Catalina Island for the next three years was approved by the California Coastal Commission at its May 10 meeting.

“Approximately 30 individual kelp plants would be harvested and attached to the cultivation structure where they would be monitored and evaluated for a roughly 30-day cycle,” Coastal Commission staff stated. “At the end of the evaluation cycle, the kelp would be harvested and taken to a nearby onshore lab for evaluation. New kelp would then be planted on the cultivation structure.”

USC and Marine BioEnergy aim to cultivate giant, feather boa, elk and oar weed kelp.

“This process of planting, cultivation, and harvest would continue at up to five separate sites – each with one anchor and buoy supported cultivation structure – for up to three years,” Coastal Commission staff stated.

University of Southern California’s Wrigley Institute and Marine BioEnergy are partnering to cultivate kelp in the open ocean. The three-year experiment would, according to Coastal Commission staff, “demonstrate that kelp farming in deep ocean waters far from shore could be commercially viable using its cultivation technique.”

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