Seaweed Processing

CARTI is working with Cascadia Seaweed Corp, the largest seaweed aquaculture company in BC, to process raw seaweed into shelf-stable products.

Project Dates: Oct 1, 2020 – April 30, 2021
Funding Amount: $31,000
Students Hired: 1

Dried sugar kelp prepared by Chantal Davis of That Planted Life.

Project Summary

NIC researchers processed raw, frozen kelp from Cascadia Seaweed Corp. to develop shelf-stable seaweed products. The researchers also mapped the processing value stream from the time the seaweed is landed at a primary processing facility until it is ready for shipment to secondary processing. The project took place in NIC’s aquaculture wet lab space at the Campbell River campus and used some of the new commercial food processing equipment purchased through a recent NSERC Applied Research Tools and Instruments grant. The value stream map will help Cascadia identify processing pinch points and efficiencies that can be applied in their new seaweed processing facility in Port Alberni.

Research Team

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.
Amber Stroeder, Researcher
Amber has a background in marine science, phycology, and aquaculture.
Amber teaches Biology classes at NIC part-time and also is a member of the research team.
Tel: Port Alberni Campus 250-724-8718, Comox Valley Campus 250-334-5000
Avalon Kline-Smith, Research Assistant
Avalon Kline-Smith moved to Campbell River in 2017 from Saskatchewan. She is a recent graduate of NIC’s Aquaculture Technician Certificate program is excited to apply her aquaculture skills in a research context.

Project Outcomes

As planned, the project resulted in two streams of seaweed products: dried and frozen. Within each stream, two different seaweed species were tested, and various drying and/or blanching treatments were analyzed. The main outcomes included:

  1. value stream maps for each type of product, including processing times and equipment parameters
  2. discussion of the limiting steps for each processing stream
  3. iodine analysis for two species of seaweed and six blanching treatments

These results help the industry partner estimate their post-processing yield for different seaweed products which has significant implications for financial projections. The results also help the industry partner make decisions about the set-up of their own processing, for example equipment, space, and personnel requirements.


News Stories and Coverage

NIC researching seaweed processing possibilities

Vancouver Island Free Daily: North Island College researching seaweed processing possibilities

CHEK TV: Cascadia Seaweed and North Island College team up on processing research

Seaweed farming opens world of opportunity for coastal BC

National Observer: Could seaweed be a salve to debate over salmon farming

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