UC Santa Cruz –
Dozens of Kenyan and Gambian villagers will soon become seaweed farmers as part of an ambitious project that is bringing sustainable aquaculture to two countries that need environmental and economic support.
The vision behind the project comes from two graduate students who have received a one-year, $150,000 grant to support their goal of creating environmentally sound seaweed and sea cucumber farms on the coasts of Kenya and The Gambia.
Patrick Cage and Maxwell Azali, both first-year masters’ students in the Coastal Science and Policy program, teamed up on a proposal to the Bridge Collaborative, a partnership founded in 2016 by The Nature Conservancy, Duke University, International Food Policy Research Institute, and PATH, that supports efforts to deliver more integrated solutions that benefit people and nature. Cage and Azali’s project is one of only four proposals that were funded by the collaborative’s Bridge Spark Fund.
Part of the beauty of the project is that it advances sustainable aquaculture and employment opportunities in ways that Cage and Azali hope will be “scalable” to other parts of Africa and beyond.
“We’re looking at creating multiple new income streams that are diverse and resilient and sustainable over time,” said Cage, who will direct the overall project. Azali, who is from Kenya, is a fisheries expert who will conduct environmental monitoring and quantitative analysis.