A virtual shellfish and seaweed festival set for mid-May will offer an introduction into this emerging Alaska industry, complete with visits to oyster and seaweed farms and presentations on how aquaculture benefits coastal communities.
The event kicks off May 17 with an introduction to mariculture by Melissa Good, a mariculture specialist in Kodiak with the Marine Advisory Program for Alaska Sea Grant, the festival host, followed by presentations on the basics of seaweed and oyster farming.
Day two features video tours of oyster and seafood farms, followed by a video meeting with an Alaska shellfish farmer. Day three will be all about cooking, with live oyster and kelp cooking demonstrations, plus instruction on how to shuck oysters and pickle kelp.
A presentation on traditional Alutiiq seaweed uses, the future of mariculture, and economic benefits of mariculture to coastal communities will wrap up the final day of the festival.
The preliminary schedule calls for daily two-hour sessions, beginning at 6 p.m. Alaska time.
The event is open to the public. Anyone who orders seafood products from participating businesses during the festival will receive a special gift package that includes recipe cards, a shucking knife and other mariculture-related goodies.
Alaska Sea Grant officials said their goal is to provide participants an opportunity to learn what it’s like to run an oyster or seaweed farm, where to find quality shellfish and seaweed products, and interesting ways to cook Alaska’s fresh locally grown mariculture foods.
Interested parties can register online at https://seagrant.uaf.edu/events/ssl/register.php?id=401 to receive a link to the Zoom presentation. The event is also to be streamed live on Facebook from coastal communities around the state.
Businesses interested in participating in the festival or being added to Sea Grant’s Alaska grown shellfish and seaweed directory (https://alaskaseagrant.org/our-work/aquaculture/buy-alaska-grown/) should contact Alaska Sea Grant at (907) 474-7086.
Updates on the event are available at https://alaskaseagrant.org/event/alaska-shellfish-and-seaweed-festival/.