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First Shellfish and Seaweed Festival kicks off this week

A line of ribbon kelp outside of Craig, Alaska. (Photo by Nick Jones/Seagrove Kelp)
A line of ribbon kelp outside of Craig, Alaska. (Photo by Nick Jones/Seagrove Kelp)

The first ever Shellfish and Seaweed Festival is kicking off on Zoom this evening, hosted by Alaska Seagrant. Presenter and Kodiak’s own resident mariculture expert Lexa Meyer can’t wait to spread the word about seaweed and kelp farming.

“In response to COVID-19, you know, we saw a sharp decrease in sales of bivalves, especially of oysters in Alaska, because that market was almost exclusively in the restaurant market. And as restaurants were closed and dining dropped off, so did the sales for oysters. And the seaweed farming industry is of course, it’s a new industry, a burgeoning industry. So since both industries needed a bit of a boost, we decided to unite them and help promote both industries,” Meyer said.

Meyer is Alaska mariculture manager for Blue Evolution Seafoods; a major Alaska kelp brand which is known for its popcorn and pasta. She says that she hopes the event will become an annual feature of the seafood industry. According to her, the event will spend plenty of time discussing the applications of Alaskan kelp and oysters in cooking, as well as devoting much time to the business and process of mariculture.

Meyer says that the event features both kelp and oysters since there is often overlap in the farming between the two; while the methods are different, both can be done in the same area. Those involved in kelp farming are often also involved in oysters, and vice versa.

“We’ll be live streaming it on the Alaska Sea Grant Facebook page. And then if you’d like to attend the actual zoom meeting, you can register on the Alaska Sea Grant website. That’s And you can find links to it in our current events page, and also to the registration through the Alaska mariculture and aquaculture page on the Alaska Sea Grant homepage, there’s links to those places, go there and you can actually register for free for the festival,” Meyer said.

The panels will be running from 6:00p.m. to 8:00p.m, Monday through Thursday this week.