DV-19-09 Boat modifications and haulable longlines to improve efficiency and safety in seaweed harvest

Ken Sparta and Rick Milliard
Spartan Sea Farms/Hamilton Supply Company

Researchers have identified Maine’s coasts as a suitable location for kelp cultivation. Current growing methods include the use of single, submerged longlines on which a seeded line of kelp can be placed. These lines can weigh upwards of 11,000 lbs per 1,000 feet and it may take many hours and considerable effort to lift the wet lines into a boat and manually remove the kelp. This, along with a short and often unpredictable harvest season, may limit a harvester’s ability to cultivate kelp. 

In an effort to strengthen and diversify Maine’s seaweed industry, project participants aim to develop a dual-line, haulable longline and suggest modifications to harvesting boats. This project will be led by commercial fishermen, aquaculture professionals, boat builders, marine supply companies, and Maine Sea Grant Extension Team members, who will work together to develop these tools. The goal is to build Maine’s capacity for safe and sustainable kelp aquaculture by informing local communities and industry participants on the best practices for improving the speed and efficiency of harvesting, and reducing environmental and safety risks. 

Sea Grant Funds: $6,000