Alternative Kelp Cultivation

Naas Foods, a seafood company based in Tofino, is working with CARTI to develop and test new kelp farming structures that use natural materials (metal and jute). The goal is to develop a scalable system that is more environmentally sustainable than standard rope-based cultivation methods.

Project Dates: January 3, 2023 to June 2, 2023
Funding Amount: $20,000 (ARTP)
Number of Student Researchers: 2

Project Summary

Naas Foods is an Indigenous-led seafood company based in Tofino. They have recently diversified their operations to include a large kelp farm, and they are dedicating a portion of the tenure to research and development. Naas Foods approached CARTI with several research questions, including how can we grow kelp that mimics a natural ecosystem but still produces the yield and consistency expected of a farm? Together, CARTI researchers, students, and the Naas team developed some designs for new kelp cultivation structures that are made of metal and jute with minimal plastics. The first prototypes were installed at the farm in March 2023 and were seeded with bull kelp at two different densities. Researchers will be monitoring both the kelp growth/yield, and the durability of the structures themselves. The goal is to create kelp cultivation systems that are environmentally sustainable and practically/financially scalable for the company.

Research Team

Allison Byrne
Allison Byrne, Researcher Associate
Allison Byrne (Allie) is a researcher in NIC’s Centre for Applied Research, Technology and Innovation where her focus is applied aquaculture research. Most of her work involves field-based seaweed and shellfish research projects that engage local industry partners and NIC students. Allie has an MSc in Geography from the University of Victoria.
Logan Zeinert
Logan Zeinert, Senior Research Technician
Logan hails from New Zealand but completed his master’s degree at Memorial University in Newfoundland and Labrador. Logan has extensive marine surveying and aquaculture research experience and is an accomplished diver. Logan’s work on kelp has involved permitting sites, determining yields and biomass, planning hatcheries, and processing harvested kelp.
Rowen Berkey
Rowen Berkey, Student Research Assistant
Rowen grew up in Campbell River and is very involved in the community through ski patrol, forest fire fighting, and leading youth mountain bike rides. Rowen is taking University transfer credits at NIC.
Abby Walker
Abby Walker, Student Research Assistant
Abby Walker is a biology student at NIC who is working on a variety of projects as a research assistant. She grew up in Campbell River learning and sharing knowledge about the ocean and the creatures in it. Her goal is to have everyone care about the ocean and the balance we hold with it.
Jordan White
Jordan White, Co-Founder & Owner, Naas Foods
Jordan oversees the inner workings of Naas Foods, leading the team in seaweed pursuits. He holds a business degree from the University of Victoria where he discovered his passion for kelp. Jordan is dedicated to providing the highest quality kelp and supporting the communities in which Naas operates.
Stevie Dennis
Stevie Dennis, Co-Founder & Owner, Naas Foods
Stevie is an Ahousaht member of the Keltsmaht First Nations. He grew up in Tofino and has worked and played in and around the ocean his whole life. Stevie has a passion for the sea and works every day to do his part for his hahoulthlee (territory).