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Master of Environmental Science and Management: Master's Group Project

Ecosystem Services and Social Licensing of Commercial Kelp Farming in California

Kelp floats near the surface of the water

Group Members: Janelle Gaun, Madeline McEwen, Sydney Rilum, Laurel Wee

Faculty Advisors: Hunter Lenihan

Client: Ocean Rainforest




Seaweed aquaculture provides many environmental services and is a key component of the blue growth economy. Macroalgal aquaculture has yet to be widely implemented in the United States, facing significant roadblocks from regulatory inefficiencies and stakeholder resistance. This project will map aquaculture stakeholders in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. A series of semi-structured interviews will be conducted to guide creation of a survey that aims to better understand stakeholder perceptions and knowledge gaps of offshore seaweed aquaculture. Survey analytics will be used to develop a community engagement and outreach strategy for commercial kelp producer, Ocean Rainforest, to utilize as a framework for aquaculture expansion along the California coastline. 

Client contact: Courtney Schatzman

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