The restorative ocean farming industry in Alaska is being built by a network of fishermen, First Nations, foundations, and scientists like Tamsen Peeples. Tamsen is a marine biologist and scientific diver, influenced to study seaweeds after surveying the Monterey Bay kelp forests. She returned to her native Alaska and joined a team at the University of Alaska Southeast as a lab technician and converted a walk-in cold room into Alaska’s first commercial hatchery using affordable and accessible materials. Tamsen reveres “low tech” as the best technology, and, like GreenWave, values the ability to sustain a hatchery with limited resources to encourage consistent replication. In Kodiak, she scaled this operation and built the largest commercial seaweed hatchery in North America to support Alaska’s growing restorative ocean farming industry.
Now, Tamsen manages this hatchery for Blue Evolution - a large scale seaweed processing company dedicated to working with local farmers and growers to produce sustainable and responsibly grown seaweed. Inspired by GreenWave, Blue Evolution and research teams are working to adapt east coast mariculture practices for west coast waters. Tamsen views restorative ocean farming is a viable way to support Alaska’s fishing industry -- an opportunity for fishing communities to expand the maritime economy to include seaweed as a source of supplemental income while rebuilding marine ecosystems.
Tamsen admires the synergy and ingenuity of the emerging restorative ocean farming industry. Fishing communities offer incredible problem solving, using their expertise as commercial fishermen to improve farm designs and contribute industry-wide improvements. Tamsen is motivated to harness the local enthusiasm around seaweed to propel restorative ocean farming forward and put Alaska’s latent infrastructure and miles of coastline to work. She’s excited to empower other Alaskans, and women, to participate and be recognized as leaders in seaweed mariculture.