Seagriculture EU

21 - 22 June 2023

Trondheim, Norway

Let's talk about kelp breeding. Where are we? Are we prepared? Current and promising strategies with a realistic perspective

Gabriel Montecinos Arismendi, Research Specialist, Hortimare, The Netherlands

About the speaker: 

Gabriel Montecinos Arismendi is a marine biologist who has spent more than ten years working in seaweed in different countries. He has studied and managed reproductive mechanisms in kelps, take part in genetic analyses, created several seaweed biobanks (germplasm collection), and participated in programs focused on seaweed restoration, genetic diversity and breeding in Macrocystis pyrifera (giant kelp). 

He is currently responsible for improving seaweed production in the brown seaweed team and advising the breeding program at Hortimare. 

Company info:


Hortimare provides high quality starting material to seaweed farmers around the world. The long-term focus of Hortimare is to supply the right strain of seaweed to build up a sustainable industry.


Seaweed domestication, thereafter breeding, is a continuous process of controlling the life cycle, capturing genetic diversity (local or non-local), and selecting and cultivating strains with desired characteristics, integrating environmental conditions.

The idea is to present different approaches and methods in western countries at different stages of strain selection, as well as identify the challenges with focus on collection of material, hatchery, deployment and harvesting.


Seaweed cultivation, seaweed domestication, breeding, biobank, phenotyping, challenges


1. When was the first time you got involved with seaweeds and why?

In summer 2009, while doing my undergrad in Chile, I participated in a seaweed monitoring program to restore coastal ecosystems. The idea was transplanting kelps in areas where they disappear, then monitoring the appearance of juveniles kelps and associated fauna such as fish and invertebrates.


2. What is your view on the European seaweed industry in 2030?

I would like to see a consolidated and mature industry regarding regulation, sustainability, and specialized companies. Different aspects of the seaweed process should be well defined - from hatchery to harvesting and bioprocessing. This includes having actors who can optimize the process.


3. What will you be talking about at Seagriculture EU 2023?

About kelp breeding. Cultivating seaweeds in coastal areas brings new opportunities, and selecting strains with the best performance needs to be in balance with regulation and community needs. The seaweed industry is in development and new strategies will take time and common effort between different actors in the chain of value. I will talk about those challenges, and how Hortimare navigates solutions with their clients. This will also be an open conversation based on experience and questions for the entire seaweed community.