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Other Seaweeds

Because of the unusually high tidal range that occurs in this area, the coastal waters are constantly overturning supplying nutrients from the bottom. As a consequence, the many species of large red and brown algae that are found here grow as rapidly and luxuriantly as anywhere else in the world. Many can be easily and inexpensively grown on ropes, and grow-out trials at Metlakatla showed spectacular results.

There is a health food market for dried seaweeds and an even bigger market for the chemicals they contain. Two species that probably have a great deal of economic potential are shown below.

Macrocystis

Macrocystis is one of the most abundant species in this area, but because it is so important for the ecosystem, very little harvest has been allowed. It is collected in small quantities to be used as the substrate for herring roe-on-kelp. In California, it is harvested to obtain the chemical sodium alginate (which makes up about a third of the dry weight).

Macrocystis
Allen Johnson holding large fronds of Macrocystis that had been collected for herring roe-on-kelp. Photo ©2008 Madelon Mottet

Turkish Washcloth

This species grew abundantly on a volunteer basis on the seaweed culture ropes at Metlakatla. It is noted for being rich in carrageenan, which is another high-priced thickening agent.


Photo ©2008 Madelon Mottet




Website
© 2008 Madelon Mottet

Contact information:
RAM Marine Station
333 9th Ave. W, Prince Rupert, British Columbia V8J 2S6, Canada
Telephone/Fax 1-250-624-2097
email: madelon.mottet@gmail.com or Allen Johnson at abalone55@hotmail.com