GreenWave is honored to partner with the Native Conservancy and the Baum Foundation to support the expansion of 3D Ocean Farming and Community Cold Storage in Alaska. This initiative is led by Dune Lankard – an Eyak Athabaskan Native, commercial fisherman, and conservationist from the Copper River Delta. After witnessing the devastating impacts of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, and in his community of Cordova, Dune dedicated his life to restoring his local environment, economy, and Native culture.
Dune hopes that 3D ocean farming will provide ecosystem services and a new ocean economy to an area still recovering from the oil spill. 3D ocean farming will restore habitat for forage fish and herring populations that have been reduced to 4% of its original run size as a result of overfishing and the oil spill. For Native communities, herring is a cultural and economic mainstay: the herring run (seining and gillnetting) and harvesting of herring roe on kelp have made up 50% of their annual income before the salmon season for generations. Now with the herring depleted, erratic wild salmon runs, and competing hatchery fish, Dune is looking to seaweed and mariculture to provide an economic alternative to harvesting fish as a livelihood. 3D ocean farming is an opportunity for building community resilience by reviving Native traditions of kelping and addressing food insecurities. For thousands of years, First Nation peoples have relied on seaweed as a staple food: eating varieties of red and brown algae -- including kelp -- and enjoying it fresh, dried, roasted, smoked, as herring roe on kelp, and fermented subsistence foods. The restorative ocean farming industry is a chance to reclaim Native food sovereignty and further food security.
Dune hopes 3D ocean farming will encourage fishermen and Native communities to become active conservationists by growing kelp and other restorative species. These crops help ailing oceans recover in the era of climate change and allow families to stay rooted in their communities. Dune’s goals are to create a resilient and regenerative economy to sustain the livelihoods of fishermen and Native villages and help them maintain a healthy, vibrant, ongoing relationships with the sea. GreenWave believes who farms matters, and we look forward to supporting Dune in protecting the fishing way of life and Native culture, while building 3D ocean farming opportunities across Alaska.
Photo Credit: Carol Hoover