The waters off Kodiak may soon host another seaweed farm.
Last week, the Department of Natural Resources announced a new proposed 10-year lease of a 14-acre kelp farm up for public comment.
Kodiak is at the center of a growing community of Alaska seaweed farmers, said Brent Reynolds, a natural resource specialist with the department.
“The increase is very similar to other areas within Southcentral,” he said. “In the last few years, there has been a definite increase of interest for aquatic farms, for requests for information about aquatic farms, the application process, the overall process of what goes into it.”
The new lease near Kodiak was requested by Chloe Ivanoff, Clifton Ivanoff and Hailey Thompson, doing business as Kelp Island Alaska. The farm would be east of Holiday Island, less than a mile from the city shoreline.
Chloe Ivanoff grew up in Kodiak, in a fishing family, and studied aquaculture in a class put on by Alaska Sea Grant last spring.
“There’s a lot we have to learn about it,” she said. “There’s a couple farms in Alaska but as it’s pretty small, the information that’s out there is often word of mouth and who you know.”
According to Ivanoff, the kelp would likely be for sale to an in-state buyer, who would process the kelp and sell it in different seafood products. That’s a common strategy for other local kelp farms.
The public comment period on the proposed farm closes on Jan. 3 at 5 p.m.
After that, there’s a final finding and a decision is reached. Then there’s an appeal period, during which concerned citizens or the potential farmers can appeal the Department of Natural Resources’ decision.
The process would take at least two months.
If approved, the farm would join six other seaweed farms in the Kodiak Island area, with four of those being in the vicinity of the City of Kodiak.
A copy of the Department of Natural Resources notice and information on how to submit a public comment can be found online.