"Alaska’s Newest Gold Rush: Seaweed"

"CORDOVA, Alaska — Dune Lankard piloted the gleaming gill-net fishing boat to Simpson Bay, where eight buoys bobbed in the sunlight. The bright orange inflatables, connected by lines and spread out across five acres, provided the only indication of the ocean farm that lay beneath the water’s surface.

Lankard, 64, spent decades fishing while running the Native Conservancy, a nonprofit that’s preserved millions of acres of land in this part of Alaska. But now, he raises kelp, a type of seaweed, as a way of buffering his communities and others from the dwindling numbers of wild salmon and other species they catch and hunt.

“I realized when the climate started changing, we didn’t have an answer for ocean acidification, and ocean warming, and ocean rise,” said Lankard, who holds back his long, slightly graying hair with a batik bandanna. “We had to figure out how to grow things on the land and in the sea.”

The act of raising sea plants and bivalves — known as mariculture — is accelerating across the globe. Once largely concentrated in Asia, the industry has expanded to Europe and the United States."

Juliet Eilperin reports for the Washington Post with photos and video by Salwan Georges July 31, 2023.

Source: Washington Post, 08/01/2023