--> Seagriculture Conference USA 2022 speaker: Severine Fleming

Seagriculture Speaker

Seagriculture USA

7 - 8 September 2022

Portland, ME, USA

What is a Right-Sized Seaweed Economy? Conservation, culture, and local agency in a growing seaweed sector

Severine v T Fleming, Co-Founder, Farmer, Activist-Organizer, Smithereen Farms, Seaweed Commons, USA

About the speaker:

Severine v T Fleming is co-founder of Seaweed Commons, an online learning community of seaweed farmers, harvesters, scientists, and advocates. Severine is a farmer, activist, and organizer based in Downeast Maine. She runs Smithereen Farm, a MOFGA certified organic wild blueberry, seaweed, and orchard operation which runs a value-added processing kitchen and store, and hosts educational camps and camping. She is a founder and board member of Agrarian Trust and current director of the Greenhorns, a 15-year-old grassroots organization whose mission is to recruit, promote, and support the incoming generation of famers in America. Seaweed Commons (www.seaweedcommons.org) is a project of Greenhorns and a recipient of the 2021 NE SARE grant for “ Alternatives to plastic in Aquaculture” and the Seaweed Commons+Ecovative’s MYCO-BUOY project to create and deploy biodegradable flotation solutions for aquaculture. She is joined on this panel by other members of Seaweed Commons. 


Company info: 

The Seaweed Commons is an international community of seaweed growers, harvesters, scientists, and advocates in support a collaboratively managed and locally controlled seaweed industry. The Seaweed Commons supports an ecosystem-based approach to the development of the industry that is informed by research to ensure that farms are in appropriate locations, of an appropriate size, and protect biodiversity. We seek to By provide the public with nuanced and accessible information on the politics, ecology, governance, and economy of marine algae. 


Presentation:

What is a right-sized seaweed economy and how do we get there? Severine v T Fleming of Smithereen Farm and Seaweed Commons will present instructive case studies that address the themes and decision points we face as a society managing the shared ocean. This is a crucial knowledge base for us all as we approach and participate in a growing seaweed sector. This presentation will highlight the role of lifelong seaweed farmers and harvesters as entrepreneurs and co-designers of the regulatory and market-structures that will define the “Blue Economy.” What will it take to arrive at a locally owned, conservation-minded sector?  How do we achieve economic and ecological resilience in these critical coastal habitats? 

We will use real-world examples in aquaculture and stewardship to discuss the many angles of a sustainable seaweed economy including:

1. Biodiversity and biomass inventories' role in informing harvest permits.

2. Implications and unintended consequences of GMO seaweeds and genetic contamination of native macroalgae.

3. An overview of policy and regulatory principles in aquaculture and shared land-use issues

4. Alternatives to plastic in aquaculture infrastructure, such as Sue Van Hook’s mycelium buoy initiative.


Keywords: 

Conservation, Just Economies, Biodiversity, Small-scale farmers, wild seaweed harvesters

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