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August 30, 2023

Maine conference will explore seaweed’s potential as food, bioplastic and medicine

person's hands with food and cutting board Courtesy / DLG Benelux B.V. Sessions on cooking with seaweed were included in last year’s conference.

More than 250 people from around the globe are scheduled to gather in Portland, Sept. 6-7, for Seagriculture USA, an international seaweed innovation conference that explores the potential of seaweed as a food source, bioplastic, medicine and sustainable model of economic development.

As the largest producer of farmed kelp in the U.S., and with a 50-year history in wild seaweed harvesting, Maine is seen as a leader in the nation’s seaweed economy. There are over 40 farms along the coast, plus processors and producers.

Maine farmers harvested over 1 million pounds of kelp in 2022.

“Maine’s seaweed industry is experiencing tremendous growth, with farmers, producers and researchers making contributions to this important economic sector," said Heather Johnson, commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, one of the conference’s sponsors.

“Seagriculture USA puts Maine on the world map as an innovator in seaweed farming and harvesting, and brings industry leaders and investors to our state, where they can connect with the business supports and opportunities that can help them grow."

Other sponsors are the Maine Technology Institute, Maine International Trade Center and Maine Office of Tourism, with additional support from the Maine North Atlantic Development Office.

The North America commercial seaweed market is expected to gain market growth in the forecast period of 2022 to 2029 and is expected to reach almost $5 billion by 2029.

The conference will take place at the Westin Portland Harborview Hotel in Portland and will share new information about the seaweed industry in the U.S. and around the world. Speakers from Maine as well as the Netherlands, Norway, Kenya and South Korea will spotlight the latest developments in the industry including the importance of commercial-scale drying and milling, the opportunities of seaweed carbon credits and using technology to develop “smart seaweed farming.”

“Maine is already a leader in kelp farming and is well positioned to be at the forefront of advanced processing of seaweed which will allow the industry to scale up and bring high-value jobs to Maine,” said Maine Technology Institute President Brian Whitney. “Maine Technology Institute is investing in Maine’s seaweed economy by offering grants, loans and equity investments to companies that are innovators in the industry."

The Seagriculture USA conference is an addition to the European edition of Seagriculture, which has been successfully organized since 2012. Besides the expansion of the brand to North America, the organizers have also launched an Asia-Pacific edition of the conference.

Maine hosted the first Seagriculture USA last year. The organizer of the Seagriculture USA Conference is DLG Benelux, an agribusiness and food consulting company in the Netherlands.

For more information, click here.

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