Production method and cost of commercial-scale offshore cultivation of kelp in the Faroe Islands using multiple partial harvesting

Urd Grandorf Bak, Agnes Mols-Mortensen, Olavur Gregersen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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The current work aimed to develop a cultivation method for macroalgae that can be applicable and economically profitable in the Atlantic Ocean. An offshore long-line macroalgal cultivation rig was designed by Ocean Rainforest Sp/f, tested in the Faroe Islands from 2010, and found suitable for cultivation in exposed and deep-water locations (water depth > 50 m). The economic risk related to lost cultivation structures was hereafter considered to be low. Saccharina latissima and Alaria esculenta were cultivated in commercial scale (5 km of growth lines). A high cost of seeding material and cost of deployment was reduced by testing multiple partial harvesting. Four non-destructive harvests were carried out in a two-year growth period without re-seeding of lines. In total, 3.2 t dry weight (dw) biomass was harvested and sold to customers within the food and cosmetic industries. The productivity was 1437.5 kg dw ha−1 yr−1 (including handling space). The 10-meter vertical growth lines had an average yield of 0.29 kg dw m−1 per harvest and four partial harvests were made over a 2-year period. An economic analysis showing the cost structure of important aspects of offshore macroalgae cultivation was conducted. The total cost per kg dw of cultivated S. latissima decreased when the number of possible harvests without re-seeding was increased (from € 36.73 to € 9.27). This work has demonstrated that large-scale kelp cultivation is possible using multiple partial harvesting in the Faroe Islands, and highlighted the need for further innovation to lower the cost per unit macroalgal produced.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAlgal Research
Pages (from-to)36-47
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Offshore cultivation
  • Economic
  • Saccharina latissima
  • Alaria esculenta
  • The Faroe Islands
  • Multiple partial harvesting

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