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Kelp Valuation

Kelp Valuation

ACRC researcher Tom Thornton is part of a five year effort to understand the cultural, social, and economic value of kelp and seaweeds in the South Coast region of Alaska.

The Kelp Valuation project centers Indigenous perspectives and came from a co-production of knowledge approach that was initiated by the Native Conservancy and the Chugach Regional Resources Commission. Together with all 3 campuses in the University of Alaska System, the research team secured funding from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council for a five-year project to help understand the cultural, social, and economic value of kelp and seaweeds in the South Coast region of Alaska, from Cordova through Kodiak. Administered by the Alaska Conservation Foundation, with partners from Alaska Department of Fish and Game Division of Subsistence, the team will work with 10 Villages in the region to understand how new kelp mariculture operations in this area can be compatible with local cultural values of Indigenous communities. This effort requires a holistic approach that applies cultural, social and economic methodologies integrated across a series of three, interconnected hypotheses: 

H1: Evaluation of historical ecology, distribution and practices of traditional Indigenous mariculture and subsistence harvest activities is necessary for effective site selection of potential future mariculture sites.

H2: New kelp mariculture activity that is led by Indigenous communities in the spill zone will have additional benefits relative to subsistence harvest and commercial fishing activities at the local scale.

H3: Kelp mariculture led by Indigenous communities presents a viable economic activity that can help attenuate continued impacts on commercial fishing in the spill zone.

A postdoctoral researcher, Michaela Korodimou, and a UAF graduate student, Karen Grossskreutz, were hired to assist with the project. Learn more on the Kelp Values website.



Partners & Funders

EVOS Restoration Fund