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Botanica Marina

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Volume 62, Issue 5


Commercialization of Irish moss aquaculture: the Canadian experience

James S. CraigieORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4020-6914 / M. Lynn Cornish
  • Acadian Seaplants Limited, Dr. J.S. Craigie Research Center, 4 Bren Street, Cornwallis, NS B0S 1H0, Canada
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Louis E. Deveau
Published Online: 2019-09-04 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bot-2019-0017


Irish moss traditionally has been valued for its hydrocolloid composition. Recognition that natural harvests would not meet the expected demands for its biomass led to experimental pilot-scale cultivation based on principles used in agriculture. Innovative technologies and systems for aquaculture management were devised when those from agriculture or mariculture were not directly transferrable. Periods of rapid progress and of consolidation due to disruptive external events were encountered, a cycle not uncommon during the introduction of a new technology. Certain key decisions in the background matrix that ultimately led to Irish moss cultivation are reviewed together with an overview of the main critical events that affected progress. The Chondrus crispus aquaculture as practiced today is essentially a modified form of precision agriculture operating year-round with c. 3.4 ha of on-land culture tanks and up to 75 employees during the peak season. Beginning with new Irish moss seedstock from the library/nursery, the crop is generated through a closely controlled, vertically integrated system of cultivation that after approximately 18 months increases the biomass more than 50,000-fold. After harvesting it is processed into the final food-grade products to meet the stringent demands of the export market.

This article offers supplementary material which is provided at the end of the article.

Keywords: aquaculture; Chondrus crispus; cultivation; food products; Irish moss


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About the article

James S. Craigie

James S. Craigie PhD, Queen’s University, ON, is Researcher Emeritus, National Research Council of Canada (NRCC) and Science Advisor to Acadian Seaplants Limited. As a former editor (Journal of Phycology), President of the Canadian Society of Plant Physiologists, and Adjunct Professor (Dalhousie University, Halifax), he has received various awards (Botanical Society of America, Phycological Society of America, Marinalg International, Province of Nova Scotia, Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Award, and the NRCC Centennial Award (1916–2016). Algal metabolites, their principal polysaccharides, and land-based, high-productivity aquaculture of seaweeds are among his current interests.

M. Lynn Cornish

A graduate of Dalhousie University (Faculty of Agriculture) with a BSc in Agricultural Soils, M. Lynn Cornish has worked in agriculture as a private consultant, and currently manages her own production-oriented farming operation. Lynn is a long-term employee at Acadian Seaplants Limited, where she oversees annual production of the seedstock inoculum for the company. In addition, she provides technical assistance for the sales and marketing teams. Following her MSc in Biology at St. Francis Xavier University, she continues to research and write scientific reviews on special topics concerning the health benefits of dietary seaweeds.

Louis E. Deveau

Louis E. Deveau is Chairman and Founder of Acadian Seaplants Limited, a Nova Scotian seaweed biotech company, an Officer of the Order of Canada, and the recipient of four honorary doctorate degrees. Inducted into the Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame, Mr. Deveau continues to receive government and industry recognition as an entrepreneur, innovator and businessman. As former President of Marine Colloids Canada Ltd.; Philippine Marine Inc., Manila; Gel Mex, Mexico, and vice-president of Marine Colloids Inc., he brings more than 50 years of experience and dedication to the seaweed industry.

Received: 2019-03-26

Accepted: 2019-08-06

Published Online: 2019-09-04

Published in Print: 2019-09-25

Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest regarding this article.

Citation Information: Botanica Marina, Volume 62, Issue 5, Pages 411–432, ISSN (Online) 1437-4323, ISSN (Print) 0006-8055, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bot-2019-0017.

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