UAF Mariculture Innovation Licensed to California Company

September 5, 2022

Net SAT Kit on display
A site assessment toolkit developed by CFOS faculty Schery Umanzor. Photo courtesy of Schery Umanzor.

UAF's Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization recently licensed two UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences innovations — or toolkits — to a California small business, Reed Mariculture, Inc. The toolkits, developed by CFOS faculty member Schery Umanzor, can help mariculture farmers around the country efficiently select their farming site and save money at the same time! The toolkits are designed to make mariculture farming easier and less expensive.

Umanzor has developed a kelp site assessment toolkit, or SAT. The kelp SAT can also be used as a monitoring tool or modified into a nutrient extraction toolkit, or NET, for determining how much carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus is removed from the ocean by farmed kelp. SAT and NET are complete and reusable toolkits for assessing and monitoring kelp farms, meet cross-agency sampling standards, and come with easy-to-use protocols and equipment. 

Mariculture — the farming of aquatic plants and animals in the marine environment — includes seaweeds, mollusks, crustaceans, and in areas outside Alaska, finfish. (Incidentally, finfish farming in Alaska waters is banned under Alaskan statute 16.40. 210, which was passed by the state legislature in 1990.)

Seaweed farming, especially kelp, is a significant and growing industry worldwide, particularly in Alaska, with its lengthy and accessible shorelines. However, farmers have needed help to first select an appropriate site for a mariculture farm, which costs thousands of dollars to permit, and then a way to continue to monitor its health.

Umanzor received a grant from UAF's Center ICE Seed Fund to develop the kelp site assessment toolkit. Reed Mariculture can produce the toolkit for farmers around the country. Demand for the toolkit has started to grow, and Umanzor and Reed Mariculture continue in partnership to pursue successful translation of this university research to a useful tool for industry.

For more information on this license and other licensing questions, please contact David Park at dspark@alaska.edu.