2023 Coastal Seaweed Farm Act has been introduced by U.S. Representative Jared Huffman (D-California) and U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Alaska). The proposed act encourages the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to produce and develop a cooperative study that assesses the benefits and impacts of coastal seaweed farming.
The measure has been endorsed by many remarkable sustainable institutions. The Environmental Defense Fund, the National Audubon Society, the Native Conservancy, and the Urban Ocean Lab are some of them.
Huffman said in a press release that “we have a responsibility to find smart, sustainable alternatives to how we do things. Coastal seaweed farming has tremendous potential to serve as a sustainable replacement for food products, fertilizer, and animal feed. It comes with a myriad of benefits for coastal communities”.
Therefore, the act can also support local economies, providing food security, and regenerating marine ecosystems.
The Coastal Seaweed Farming Act
The Coastal Seaweed Farming Act directs NOAA and USDA to study and publish a report on the benefits and impacts of coastal kelp farming on the marine ecosystem.
In addition, the act goes a step further. Its intended to develop regulations and establish evaluation parameters based on the study to ensure that coastal seaweed farming, its location, and operations maximize potential benefits and avoid adverse impacts on the ecosystem, including wildlife, fisheries, and local communities.
Moreover, it not only takes care of the environment but also vulnerable groups. This bill would also create the Indigenous Seaweed Farming Fund.
The Indigenous Seaweed Farming Fund
The fund would provide grants to indigenous communities to support coastal seaweed farming and all that it implicates. This grant program wants to reduce cost barriers for native communities and cover all that is involved in coastal seaweed farming. Thus, it included the purchase of equipment, procurement, planting, and operation of a coastal seaweed farm. As well as all about the processing, transportation, and storage of kelp.
There are some requirements as utilizing coastal seaweed farming for restorative ecological functions and informing USDA and NOAA. Both organizations are looking for farmers for comment and recommendation on each stage of the operation of the program.
Some of the eligible entities for the Coastal Seaweed Farm Acts specifically for the Indigenous Seaweed Farming Fund include federally recognized Tribes or Native Villages, and Native Hawaiians.
Besides, Peltola said listing Alaskans and native communities about the act: “I believe that this bill can make a positive impact on issues of food security, sustainability, and ocean health, and I look forward to working on it together”.