Farming of kelp in Greenland
During the past year, Royal Greenland has tested the possibilities of growing kelp in Greenland waters. It is the first time that trials of farming kelp have been conducted in Greenland, and at this point, the results are positive. The long-term target is to commercialize kelp from Greenland.
The project has drawn on international cooperation to exchange ideas and get inspiration for the project. The seaweed network ‘Alget’ (algae), which is sponsored by the NORA Foundation and includes entrepreneurs, researchers and other parties from Norway, Denmark, the Faroe Islands and Ireland, is an important knowledge forum. After a visit to Seaweed Energy Solutions in Norway, in the summer of 2018, Nikoline Ziemer, Business Development Manager with Royal Greenland, and her team began to cultivate their own seaweed in Greenland.
Farming over wild harvest
The advantage of farming over wild harvest is, according to Nikoline Ziemer, that the product is much cleaner in terms of species, but also in terms of sand, snails and other benthics. The chosen species are so far sugar kelp ( Saccharina latissimi) and Northern Wakame ( Alaria esculenta). These species are well known in several kitchens around the world.
The process started with the selection of mature seaweed algae near Maniitsoq. In the factory, this algae was subject to a closely controlled process whereby spores were released and became attached to lines of rope. After four to five weeks of growth in the factory, the rope with new seaweed algae was ready to be set out. During the autumn 2018, Nikoline and her team worked intensively on setting out the lines of rope. They made great efforts to find areas close to rocks, with a good sea current, since these areas have many nutrients to support the seaweed algae’s growth on the rope lines. During the winter, all they did was wait until the spring, when light and heat returned. In early summer 2019, the first kelp was harvested and the quality is now being tested by chefs in several countries, with the purpose to refine the methods already for the 2020 season.
When she cuts the mother plant, this releases the gametes from the seaweed. In a controlled process at the factory, these cells become attached to the rope, where the new seaweed will grow.