Growing Kelp with NSLP

This project looked at the feasibility of kelp farming at four aquaculture sites off the west coast of Vancouver Island, three owned by Nuu-chah-nulth Seafood LP (NSLP) Partner Nations and one owned by Cermaq Canada in NSLP Partner Nation territory. NSLP is working toward expanding their fisheries and aquaculture operations to include sustainably farmed kelp.

Project Dates: January – June 2019
Funding Amount: $25,000
Students Hired: 4

NSLP's Jennifer Woodland and Mikaela Pettigrew hold up sugar kelp at one of the research sites.

Project Summary

Sugar kelp seed was planted at four vacant aquaculture tenures in Barkley Sound, BC, in January 2019. Five test lines were seeded at each site and kelp growth was monitored monthly until harvest in May 2019. Ocean temperature and salinity – two important factors for kelp growth – were measured at each site using data loggers. At the end of the study, kelp yield and nutritional quality were measured. Results of the trial will directly inform NLSP and their Partner Nations’s kelp aquaculture siting and investment.

Project Outcomes

  • Based on kelp production results of this study, at least two of the four sites tested are promising for commercial kelp farming
  • Detailed ocean temperature and salinity profiles were created for each study site, during the kelp production cycle
  • Kelp harvested from the best site was used to create mock food products
  • Kelp samples were analyzed for nutritional content and iodine content

Research Team

Allison Byrne
Allison Byrne, Lead Researcher
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.


News Stories and Coverage

National Observer: Coastal First Nations ahead of the curve in cultivating seaweed industry