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The Ecology Action Center (EAC) has released a new market assessment report highlighting Nova Scotia’s potential for kelp farming. The study projects a potential market worth millions over the next three to five years. Specifically, they estimate some CAD 38 million from seaweed cultivated and processed, another CAD 20 million in related local economic activity, and up to CAD 149 million in consumer and personal care products.

These are the figures projected by the EAC study that would capture 35% of the Canadian and U.S. markets. This data includes the consumer foods and health and beauty products in those markets that already include kelp or that could easily replace an ingredient for it.

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By publishing this report, the EAC hopes that policymakers, investors, and other stakeholders can take action to support the growth of this emerging industry for the benefit of local communities.

“This report provides valuable insights and a strategic roadmap for building this sector in a way that is sustainable and benefits as many communities as possible,” said Shannon Arnold, marine program associate director with the EAC.

Arnold pointed out that due to current trends, this could take several years. This is because, in the industry, there are many parts, such as obtaining permits or adjusting the regulations. “We’re urging the government to move quickly on its promise to ‘right-size’ the regulations for regenerative sea farming like seaweed and shellfish [… If not] we risk being left behind by other jurisdictions that are keen on kelp.” 

Why Nova Scotia?

Nova Scotia has a leading role for two main reasons: its coastal communities and existing industry. “It has the advantage of coastal communities that are well suited for this regenerative ocean farming along with the established industry to support processing,” said Arlin Wasserman, managing director of Changing Tastes, a management and strategy consultancy working in the sustainable food sector. Additionally, Wasserman explained that with the work beginning now more chances to gain. “Nova Scotia can also gain an even larger share by being among the first to establish its farmed kelp industry, and in developing and marketing new varieties, ingredients, and uses.” Why? Because others are just starting out.

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Other interesting facts of the report

  • The North American market demand for kelp will be over 53M kg per year in just a couple of years. 
  • Nova Scotia can quickly capture a share of that market of about 5.4M kg. Data can be produced in just over 1,000 hectares of farmed ocean. The farming and processing will generate more than $38M in new economic opportunities. Moreover, it can boost eco-tourism and diversify income for the seafood industry. 
  • In 5-7 years, Nova Scotia can grow the overall market and its share of North American kelp to over 16.5M kg. Furthermore, it can triple the acreage farmed and contribute to the provincial economy. 

About Ecology Action Centre

The Ecology Action Centre is an environmental charity based in Nova Scotia. The group has been taking leadership on critical environmental issues since 1971. From protecting biodiversity to addressing climate change and advocating for environmental justice, the organization actively engages in these causes.

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