Seagriculture Speaker

Seagriculture USA

6 - 7 September 2023

Portland, ME, USA

Keynote presentation:

Charting the course: navigating permitting challenges and market barriers in Southern California's seaweed industry

Eliza Harrison, Director of California Operations, Ocean Rainforest, USA

About the speaker:

Eliza Harrison is the Director of California Operations for Ocean Rainforest, Inc. Since January 2020, she has co-led the implementation of a three-year research program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to assess the feasibility of seaweed cultivation in southern California. Eliza is responsible for a variety of community engagement and research-oriented tasks, which include coordinating with state and federal agencies, presenting to local commercial fishing groups, performing market research, supporting hatchery and ocean operations, etc. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Health Science from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina — Chapel Hill.

Company info: 


Ocean Rainforest (OR) has developed a seaweed cultivation system for offshore and nearshore locations and operates a supply chain from seedling production to end-user products with a vision to create a local ocean rainforest around the world. With more than ten years of experience, our inbuilt focus on research and innovation enabled us to develop world-class cultivation methods – making us Europe’s leading seaweed cultivator and a pioneer in our industry. Our small team shares the same values, and through a diverse set of skills and years of combined experience, we continue to explore the potential of this versatile sea plant and meet growing market demand. By applying science, innovation and expertise in growing premium quality seaweed for sale and for research, OR is internationally recognized as a key pioneer in the developing industry. 


Ocean Rainforest (OR) is the prime contractor for the MacroSystems project: an initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Energy designed to demonstrate the feasibility of offshore cultivation of Macrocystis pyrifera (i.e. Giant Kelp). In Phase 2, OR secured the first federal waters permit exclusively for seaweed cultivation in the lower 48. For the next two and a half years (i.e., Phase 3 of the MacroSystems project), OR will continue to de-risk the full seaweed supply chain while demonstrating the viability of our cultivation methodology in true, offshore conditions. OR will also actively pursue product development with a focus on intermediate markets. 

By our work in Southern California, OR has come to understand some of the critical hurdles the industry must overcome to realize its economic, social, and environmental benefit. This presentation will shed light on permitting and market barriers, as well as highlight best practices for continued industry development.


seaweed, California, offshore aquaculture, large-scale, social licensing, permitting, market barriers, regenerative ocean farming.