Why New England is going wild for wet weeds 新英格兰为何钟情海藻
Kelp helps farmers’wallets and the world 海带帮农民致富，也有益于全世界
Jun 26th 2021 | BLOCK ISLAND
THE PINK AND green buoys bobbed gently over the surface of the water as Catherine Puckett steered her boat towards them. Underneath the area demarcated by the buoys, Ms Puckett plants kelp—a type of seaweed—on long ropes that resemble washing lines. In a good year she harvests about five tonnes of the stuff, which is ferried from Block Island to be sold on the mainland.
凯瑟琳·帕克特（Catherine Puckett ）驾着船驶来，惹得那些粉色和绿色的浮标在水面上轻轻晃动。在浮标划定的区域之下，帕克特在类似洗衣绳的长绳子上种植了海带（一种海藻）。年景好的时候她可以收获大约5吨海带，这些海带从布洛克岛被运往大陆销售。
Seaweed has long been a mainstay of Japanese cuisine, but it is now catching on in America. Dieticians extol kelp’s high nutritional value and its many uses in the kitchen. Online retailers sell burgers, jerky and pasta made of kelp, which has a satisfying chew and a clean, bracing marine salinity. Restaurants offer kelp salads and kelp martinis. And manufacturers use seaweed to make products as varied as toothpaste, pharmaceuticals and compostable straws.
Seaweed also owes its rising popularity to something else. Research has shown that it restores underwater habitats, filters contaminants and, by sequestering carbon dioxide, helps to counteract ocean acidification, making it an appealing way to help mitigate the effects of climate change. Among the projects to be supported by a $100m grant awarded to the World Wildlife Fund by the Bezos Earth Fund, endowed by Jeff Bezos of Amazon, was to study seaweed’s environmental benefits and encourage its production. Sea Grant, a federally funded programme that works with American research universities, launched a Seaweed Hub to serve as a clearing-house for the industry.
海带大受欢迎还有其他原因。研究显示它能修复水下栖息地，过滤污染物，还可以通过碳封存帮助抵制海水酸化，作为缓和气候变化影响的方法，它非常有吸引力。贝佐斯地球基金会（the Bezos Earth Fund）由亚马逊的杰夫·贝佐斯捐赠建立，它向世界野生动物基金会（the World Wildlife Fund）捐助了1亿美元资金，其中有一个受资助项目就是研究海藻的环境效益并鼓励海藻生产。由联邦资助、与多个美国研究大学合作的海洋补助计划（Sea Grant），也建立了“海藻中心”(Seaweed Hub）作为海藻养殖产业的信息交流中心。
Seaweed farming is attracting newcomers, especially women, to the commercial seafood industry. GreenWave, a Connecticut-based non-profit, has a waiting list of about 8,000 people for its ocean-farming programme. Some alumni, such as Ms Puckett, added seaweed as a winter crop to their shellfish farms (islanders affectionately call her “The Oyster Wench”, a name inspired by Shakespeare’s Richard II).
Others, such as Suzie Flores, are switching careers. Before opening her kelp farm in Stonington, Connecticut, in 2017, she was an executive at a higher-education software company. Bren Smith, founder of GreenWave, says one reason ocean farming attracts newcomers is that starting a seaweed farm is easier than becoming a commercial fisherman, which requires permits that come in limited numbers and can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
其他人，比如苏丝·弗洛雷斯（Suzie Flores），纷纷转行从事海带养殖。2017年在康涅狄格州斯托宁顿开办自己的海带养殖场之前，她是一家高等教育软件公司的高管。“绿色浪潮”创始人布伦·史密斯（Bren Smith）称，海洋养殖吸引新手加入的其中一个原因是，开办海藻养殖场比做个商业渔民要容易，后者必须获得许可证（数量有限），并且要投入数万美元。
Kelp farmers, however, face several obstacles. Getting the required permits can be a bureaucratic process involving numerous state agencies. Ms Flores says that outside of Maine, infrastructure to process the seaweed crop is limited. Because raw kelp has a short shelf-life, Ms Puckett has to harvest her crop within a five-hour window to get it on a ferry before noon (she hopes to build her own processing plant on the island). And farmers sometimes have to deal with people who complain that the farming gear, though mostly underwater, spoils the view from their seafront villas.
The kelp industry is still young and farming seaweed is not always profitable. But, says Ms Flores, “I find it to be very fulfilling. You are growing food that is healthy for the environment and healthy for people.”