Table of Contents,Introduction 1,Seaweed Producers 7. Intermediaries 8,Consumers 8, Regulatory Framework and Implications for Development of Kelp Aquaculture 9. Supply Chain Analysis 9, Description of Principal Actors in Seaweed Supply Chains in the Northeast U S 9. Seaweed Producers 9,Nursery seed spool producers 10. Seaweed growers 11,Products and Product Forms 16,Intermediaries 19. Wholesalers Distributors 19,Restaurants 20,University Food Service 22. Retailers 22,Consumers 23, Advantages and Disadvantages of Potential Supply Chains for Seaweed. in Northeast U S 24, Potential Supply Chains for Independent Seaweed Producers 24. Sales of fresh seaweed by independent producers to farmers markets 25. Sales of fresh seaweed by independent producers to restaurants 25. Sales of fresh seaweed by independent producers to university food service 26. Sales of processed seaweed by independent producers 27. Sales by independent producers to wholesalers distributors 28. Sales by independent producers to processors 29, Potential Vertically Integrated Supply Chains for Seaweed 30. Regulatory Influences on Supply Chains 31, Discussion and Recommendations for Additional Research 32. Conclusions 36,Acknowledgments 38,References 38,List of Tables. Table 1 Principal actors in potential seaweed supply chains concentration. and marketing functions 46,Table 2 Seaweed Products and Recipes 48. Table 3 Advantages and disadvantages of various seaweed product forms 52. List of Figures, Figure 1 Global Aquaculture Production of Top 15 Species 53. Figure 2 Degree of Interest in Trying New Seaweed Products Generally. by Respondents Who Have Eaten Seaweed Previously 54. Figure 3 Relative Interest in Trying Various Seaweed Products 55. Figure 4 Relative Importance of Various Attributes of Products in Terms. of Purchase Choices 56,Figure 5 Direct Sales of Fresh Seaweed 57. Figure 6 Direct Sales of Processed Seaweed 58, Figure 7 Sales to Processor Wholesaler Distributor 59. Figure 8 Vertically Integrated Supply Chain 60,Introduction. Seaweed specifically Eucheuma and Japanese kelp is the top aquaculture crop produced. worldwide by volume Fig 1 Gracilaria seaweeds rank tenth in the world in terms of total. volume of production The vast majority of the world supply of seaweed is farmed 30 1 million. metric tons farmed in 2016 as compared to 1 1 million tons harvested from the wild FAO. 2018 The leading global suppliers of seaweed are China Indonesia the Philippines and the. Republic of Korea, Globally the major use for seaweed has been for human consumption McHugh 2003. Cottier Cook et al 2016 with calls for increasing consumption of seaweed as a sustainable food. source Forster and Radulovch 2015 and for use in developing functional foods Mendis and. Kim 2011 Secondary uses of seaweed include processed powdered forms used as. hydrocolloids in industrial processes for the food and cosmetic industries and as texturing agents. and stabilizers Bixler and Porse 2011 Smaller volumes of seaweed are also sold for use in. animal feeds and fertilizers Demand for contaminant free seaweed for use in nutraceuticals and. pharmaceuticals appears to be increasing Seaweed has also been proposed for bioremediation as. a component of integrated multitrophic aquaculture IMTA systems Ridler et al 2007 and as a. source of material for biofuel production although low lipid content may restrict its use. Roesjadi et al 2010, While consumption of seaweed in the U S has been restricted traditionally to sushi. dishes and products sold in health food stores consumer demand for seaweed in the U S appears. to be expanding Sea vegetables and sea salads have been appearing on menus in upscale. U S restaurants and Costco imports seaweed from Korea to sell as bulk packages of Kirkland s. Signature Roasted Seasoned Seaweed and other products. In the Northeast U S seaweed has been harvested for a number of years on a relatively. small scale by both commercial harvesters and farmers Some oyster farmers in the region have. begun to farm kelp as a second crop as a way to diversify their farming business The growing. season for seaweed in the Northeast U S is the off season for oyster production and has potential. to improve cash flow by generating off season revenue Redmond et al 2014 and to provide. year round employment, While several species of seaweed grow in the Northeast U S much of the recent interest. has been on sugar kelp Laminaria saccharina While Rhode Island was reported to be located at. the southern limit for this species its productivity levels while variable were found to be similar. to those of kelp in Nova Scotia and Spain Brady Campbell et al 1984. Demand for locally grown food has increased Donahue et al 2014 potentially creating. demand for development of new products such as locally grown seaweed Yet in spite of. apparent potential and interest the U S market for edible seaweed is largely un developed. Griffin and Warner no date Production research is underway at several universities but the. volumes of production and sales are too limited to conduct detailed quantitative market analyses. Supply and value chain approaches have been suggested as effective approaches for. market analysis and development Jacinto and Pomeroy 2011 A farmer considering seaweed. production must identify appropriate market outlets obtain information on potential price points. understand the extent of on farm processing required and arrange for effective transportation for. product distribution among other supply chain questions Such information does not exist to. provide guidance for those in the Northeastern U S interested in raising seaweed. Supply chain analyses examine entire sets of market channels for a product and typically. include requirements at the production processing wholesaling retail supermarket and food. service restaurants levels Graef et al 2014 see Radtke and Davis 2000 for an early description. of the U S seafood product chain Supply chain analyses are descriptive in nature and describe. the range of activities required for a product to be cleaned processed and transported to. appropriate market outlets Appropriate marketing functions for each product form must be. considered and often include the need for consolidation and storage of product at a wholesale. level and processing considerations related to adding value to raw products Other important. considerations include relative sizes and market power of actors along the supply chain For. example if a large company controls one or more supply chain levels it may exert power over. prices volumes purchased or quality characteristics Finally the overall regulatory environment. frequently has important implications for market development through the supply chain. There are a number of recent examples of supply and value chain analyses in fisheries. and aquaculture The supply of fish was evaluated in Uganda Gordon and Maurice 2015. Bangladesh Sapkota et al 2015 and Thailand Singh et al 2015 Bjorndal et al 2015 and. Dey et al 2015 summarized dynamics of value chains relative to small scale businesses while. Kainkainen et al 2016 identified traits for a European whitefish breeding program that would. be profitable across supply chains Several studies eg Alam and Pokrant 2009 refer to the need. for adequate storage facilities and distribution infrastructure and negative price effects of rapid. supply expansion without parallel growth in market demand Asche et al 2014 studied price. transmission in the salmon supply chain in France Macfadyen et al 2012 the performance of. Egyptian aquaculture across the supply chain and Navy et al 2016 assessed potential climate. change effects on fisheries and aquaculture production in Cambodia and Vietnam. For supply chains to exist all participants need to be economically successful Jacinto. and Pomeroy 2011 Thus if oyster farmers need to hire specialized harvesting and processing. services for their kelp the harvesting and processing companies must also be profitable for a. viable kelp supply chain to emerge In a study of the European Union seaweed market Bord. 2015 discussed competition from Asian suppliers concluding that Irish seaweed producers. should focus on edible species not currently supplied to avoid competition with existing high. volume suppliers, Navigating seafood supply chains can be especially difficult for small scale businesses. Jacinto and Pomeroy 2011 Bjorndal et al 2015 in a value chain analysis found cash flow. constraints to be problematic for small scale producers Small scale producers also received the. lowest economic benefits likely due to greater market power of processors and retailers Other. disadvantages of small scale producers include lack of market information sector fragmentation. and lack of technological expertise Pomeroy et al 2017 Regulatory requirements can increase. costs to a greater degree for small scale as compared to larger scale producers van Senten and. Engle 2017 Engle and van Senten in review Linkages within supply chains can be beneficial. for small scale producers but skilled management is needed for organizations to successfully. achieve the intended economies of scale and increased bargaining power Engle et al 2016. In the Philippines small family farms out competed corporations due to the intensity and. scheduling variability required of labor and low capital and technological requirements. Valderrama et al 2015 The Philippine seaweed supply chain included seed suppliers. producers who grew and dried seaweed traders who consolidated dried and stored seaweed at. the village level processors in larger cities and exporters Pomeroy et al 2017 Traders also. provided financing to producers and shipped product to processors located in larger cities. Seaweed farming was found to be prone to substantial production risk from boom and bust. cycles Valderrama et al 2015 Seaweed production found in a number of countries was sold. through direct contracts between producers and processors Thus the supply chain consisted of. producers to processors both as independent actors in the supply chain but linked through direct. contracts for sales, Roesijadi et al 2015 described a hypothetical U S supply chain for macroalgae farmed. and harvested for use in biofuel production that included harvesting pre treatment washing. screening out stones sand litter epiphytic organisms and de watering processing and sales. De watering to 20 to 30 water was beneficial to stabilize seaweed for transport. An emerging literature has reported costs and economics of seaweed farming in several. countries van den Burg et al 2016 found that seaweed production offshore in the North Sea. was not economically feasible Valderrama et al 2015 identified differences in economic. performance of seaweed farms across six countries in Asia and Latin America due primarily to. the scale of operation and farm prices Wakamatsu and Miyata 2015 assessed alternative. processing standards and associated cost effectiveness for seaweed and related consumer. preferences In the U S costs to produce seaweed for potential biofuel use were estimated to. range from 21 to 150 per metric ton of dried seaweed Chynoweth 2002 Reith et al 2009 and. Oilgae 2010, Focus groups a qualitative research tool have been used in supply and value chain. analysis in aquaculture Focus groups convene small groups of individuals to discuss pre. determined topics and issues as guided by a trained facilitator Bernard 2006 Krueger and Casey. 2014 Commercial businesses began to use focus groups in the 1940s to inform development of. new products and marketing strategies but they have been adopted and adapted by social. scientists for research to elicit qualitative information on topics for which detailed data are not. yet available For example Macfadyen et al 2012 used focus groups to map Egyptian. aquaculture value chains while Islam 2008 characterized shrimp commodity chains in. Bangladesh with focus groups Aarset et al 2004 convened focus groups in five European. countries to explore market potential for organic farmed salmon Verbeke et al 2007 explored. perceptions of farmed versus wild caught seafood through focus groups to provide marketing. guidance to seafood suppliers Claret et al 2012 found through focus groups that country of. origin farmed versus wild caught price and storage conditions influenced consumer. preferences for seafood Neira and Engle 2006 identified new product concepts for farm raised. fish through focus groups, The overall goal of this study was to conduct an analysis of potential seaweed supply. chains in the Northeastern U S New York to Maine Specific objectives were to. 1 Identify seaweed supply chains in the Northeastern U S New York to Maine. 2 Develop a qualitative assessment of the potential supply chains identified and. 3 Produce descriptions of potential supply chains for seaweed. This study provides insights into potential supply chains for seaweed producers in the. northeastern U S describes advantages and disadvantages of potential marketing pathways and. summarizes opportunities and barriers associated with the supply chains analyzed This paper. proceeds by first describing methods used to collect information and identifies current and. potential marketing channels for seaweed Marketing functions required by various actors in. supply chains are described along with implications for product volumes and possible price. points Implications related to the regulatory framework for seaweed are discussed. Data were collected from producers market intermediaries processors wholesalers. distributors institutional buyers chefs consumers and representatives of agencies with. regulatory authority through a combination of focus groups and direct personal interviews. Various entities that provide support services Extension specialists Sea Grant extension. specialists researchers and community development specialists were included either in focus. groups or with in person interviews Lists of potential participants and their contact information. were compiled for six states Connecticut Maine Massachusetts New Hampshire New York. and Rhode Island through consultation with collaborators throughout the region A brochure. was designed and emailed to potential interviewees to invite participation. A structured list of topics and prompts was developed prior to each focus group as well as. pre and post focus group forms to record individual information that might not have been. expressed during focus groups Two note takers were assigned to each focus group Focus. groups began with a brief explanation of the project Participants were asked to explore and. discuss alternative supply chains product forms and opportunities for seaweed. Seaweed Producers, Focus groups were convened with seaweed producers in Rhode Island on April 12 2017. and in Massachusetts on August 8 2018 Key topics of discussion included market channels that. farmers have used for seaweed prices received quantities sold and thoughts related to other. potential market channels advantages and disadvantages of various market channels The Rhode. Island producer focus group included eight producers who have raised kelp and the. Massachusetts focus group included two active kelp producers two prospective kelp producers. four individuals who provide assistance to shellfish and kelp producers two researchers one. shellfish producer and one fish trader who also trades seaweed For scheduling reasons a local. government official and three regulators also attended the Rhode Island focus group but their. responses were included in the section on the regulatory framework. In other states in the region scheduling difficulties and or low numbers of seaweed. producers precluded organizing focus groups and in person interviews were conducted Eleven. direct in person interviews were conducted with 1 one prospective seaweed producer in New. York 2 three seaweed producers two with several years experience and one in their first year. and four kelp researchers in Maine 3 two interviews in New Hampshire one with a current. seaweed researcher producer and one Extension specialist working on seaweed and 4 two. community development specialists working with prospective kelp producers in Maine Two of. the seaweed producers in Maine had businesses based primarily on wild harvest of seaweed. Intermediaries, A focus group of eight institutional buyers chefs representing Maine Massachusetts. New Hampshire and Rhode Island and a buyer for a private company serving regional New. England and Mid Atlantic state universities universities and colleges in the mid Atlantic region. was convened In addition four kelp processors one whose business focused primarily on wild. harvested kelp in Maine and a chef in New York City were interviewed Key information. discussed included 1 awareness and experience buying and selling seaweed products 2. degree of interest in testing various types of seaweed products and 3 suggestions for effective. supply chains for seaweed products, Consumer intercept surveys were conducted in southern New England to gain some. information related to consumer perceptions and preferences with regard to seaweed. consumption Direct personal interviews were conducted also at three farmers markets in Rhode. Island two food festivals one each in Massachusetts and New York and one community. supported fisheries pickup location in New Hampshire Information elicited included knowledge. and familiarity with edible seaweed preferences for product forms and purchasing habits A. total of 142 respondents completed the interviews, Regulatory Framework and Implications for Development of Kelp Aquaculture. A focus group was conducted of representatives of regulatory agencies from four states. two from Connecticut one from Massachusetts one from Rhode Island and one from Maine. on April 17 2018 The regulatory focus group concentrated on identifying regulations relevant to. seaweed production and sales permitting and compliance requirements concerns related to. seaweed farming and marketing and governance factors that need to be considered Additional. individual interviews were conducted with six seaweed regulators in Maine. The regulatory focus group was conducted by conference call due to travel restrictions of. the various agencies For scheduling reasons a local government official and three regulators. attended the Rhode Island focus group,Supply Chain Analysis. The supply chain analysis was developed by synthesizing the information obtained The. first phase was to describe the actors in seaweed supply chains in the Northeastern U S and the. second phase analyzed relative advantages and disadvantages of seaweed supply chains. Description of Principal Actors in Seaweed Supply Chains in the Northeast U S. Table 1 summarizes the different types of principal actors who could participate in. potential seaweed supply chains in the Northeast U S and the marketing functions to be. performed These include producers nursery and growout and intermediaries processors. wholesalers distributors restaurants university food service and retailers. Seaweed Producers, There are two main types of production levels for seaweed production The first is the. hatchery or nursery phase in which spools of seed are produced and supplied to farmers for. growout The second production level is the growout of seaweed to a marketable size. Nursery seed spool production Seaweed production begins with seed production in a. nursery facility Seed production is viewed as a difficult process that requires a laboratory. operated under mostly sterile conditions to avoid contamination with other species Seaweed. producers other than those involved in wild harvesting depend upon nurseries to obtain seed for. planting and the availability and quality of seed spools can be a constraint for producers There. are two main seaweed nurseries in the Northeast U S one in Maine and one in Connecticut that. supplied the majority of seed spools for seaweed producers In addition there were a number of. producers and at least one local community who were working to establish their own nurseries. Focus group participants commented on delays in obtaining seed spools that may have prevented. them from planting at the most appropriate times, Seaweed nurseries use sterile laboratory facilities with water filtered through 5 micron. bag filters to avoid contaminated seed that results in poor production at the growout level In. addition to having adequate laboratory space and conditions key inputs include nutrients. necessary for production of seaweed seed spools and skilled labor Nursery seed production is. expensive due to the cost of water filtration the cost of required nutrients for seaweed and the. need for adequate amounts of skilled labor The longer the seed must remain in the nursery the. more expensive it will be Reducing the time that seed strings remained in the nursery was. mentioned as a cost reduction strategy but others reported that quality may be sacrificed by. selling seed spools with less fur that do not grow as well after planting Hatchery and nursery. businesses must also invest in long term inputs such as boats motors moorings and floats. The major products of seaweed nurseries are the spools of seed that are either sold to. producers or provided by a vertically integrated company with the commitment to sell final. product to the same company at harvest In cases where seed spools were provided at no cost the. price paid to growers for harvested product was adjusted to cover the cost of the seed. The key marketing function provided by seaweed nurseries is to supply the seed inputs. In some cases seed was transported by the nursery but in other cases the producer had to pick. seed up from the nursery, A few nurseries particularly those established by a vertically integrated company. provide some technical support and information to producers in an effort to stimulate increased. supply of product for later processing and sales Some nurseries were developed by university. researchers and continue to be supported with grant funded university research programs. Producers who participated in the focus groups commented on the variability of quality. of seed spools Those who reported spotty seed strings also reported poor production. Seaweed Growout The seaweed growout phase is the primary production level of the. farmed seaweed supply chain There are however only a few established seaweed producers in. the Northeast U S several of whom built businesses and supply chains in Maine from wild. harvested seaweed There were comments from focus group participants that the quality of wild. seaweed harvested in states other than Maine is not suitable for processing in Maine There are. growing numbers of producers experimenting with seaweed in the region but the greatest. concentration is in Maine In 2014 54 000 lb of sea vegetables were reported sold by Maine. seaweed producers not wild harvesters Cole et al 2016. Many of those experimenting with seaweed production are shellfish growers oysters. scallops quahogs who are seeking to diversify their businesses with a secondary crop but there. are also several vertically integrated seaweed businesses in the region The vertically integrated. businesses vary in their relationships with independent producers with at least one actively. encouraging shellfish producers to experiment with seaweed providing spools of seed at no cost. but with reduced price paid at time of harvest while the other sells seed and actively purchases. seaweed from independent growers Both vertically integrated businesses have their own. production farming locations, A number of seaweed producers reported trials with a number of species of seaweed. Gracilaria porphyra and sugar kelp were mentioned by producers in this study Some producers. expressed interest in raising nori sea lettuce dulse and fucoid seaweed to develop sources of. year round product supply Laver was reported to not grow well in the region Aleria laver. rockweed bladderwrack rigosa and kelp have been wild harvested and sold for many years in. Maine Of these seaweed species sugar kelp has become the predominant species farmed in the. region It is viewed as the easiest to raise with fewer biofouling problems than those reported. with gracilaria Thus most comments from producer focus groups were related to sugar kelp. Given its experimental nature in the Northeastern U S there was a great deal of. discussion on kelp production in the producer focus groups One of the attractions reported for. farming kelp was that it can be done in a small area with production potential of 5 to 10 lb of. seaweed biomass per foot of kelp line but reported production varied from 1 5 lb foot to 4 lb ft. with better production in Maine Shellfish growers can use existing farm structures for seaweed. Focus group producers spent time discussing several production problems related to. variable production from the same site or difficulties finding good sites for seaweed For. example one producer reported that initial plantings went well but by February March the kelp. was starving changing from a dark brown color judged to represent healthy kelp to a.
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