Winter Speaker Series


Kelping the Earth with a Virtuous Vegetable

Wednesday, January13th, 2016, 7:00pm
Paul Dobbins, of Ocean Approved, Inc.
Cram Alumni Hall, 83 Federal St., Bowdoin College, Brunswick

Friends of Merrymeeting Bay’s (FOMB) fourth presentation of its 19th annual Winter Speaker Series: Kelping the Earth with a Virtuous Vegetable; features Paul Dobbins, of Ocean Approved, Inc. The event, taking place Wednesday, January 13th, 7:00pm at Bowdoin College’s Cram Alumni House, 83 Federal St., Brunswick, is free and open to the public and follows the FOMB Annual Meeting and Potluck supper beginning at 6pm to which the public is also invited.

Sugar kelp, or Saccharina latissima benefits the ocean environment in many ways. It provides nursery habitat and a food source for snails and urchins, while fixing CO2 as a “blue carbon”, recycling excessive nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus and reducing ocean acidification. Kelp has been grown as a food source since before the written record, and can be used for biofuels and pharmaceuticals. According to a report published by the United Nations, almost 23.6 million metric tons of seaweed was farmed in 2014 (UNFAO, 2014). While most of this farming was done in Asia, seaweed is farmed in 30 countries and on every continent except Antarctica. The United States became the 29th country to farm seaweed when Ocean Approved seeded its first farm in 2010.

Paul Dobbins is president and co-owner of Ocean Approved, the first commercial kelp farm in the United States, growing Sugar Kelp, Horsetail Kelp, and Winged Kelp in the clean waters of coastal Maine. In addition to his work with Ocean Approved, Mr. Dobbins serves on the board of the Maine Aquaculture Association, and the advisory and review boards of the Maine Aquaculture Research Institute, Maine Seagrant, and the Maine Technology Institute.

FOMB hosts their Winter Speaker Series October-May on the second Wednesday of each month. The February 10th presentation, The Mortal Sea, Fishing the Atlantic in the Age of Sail features Dr. Jeff Bolster, award-winning author and professor from UNH. Speaker Series presentations are always free and open to the public and supported by Patagonia, Inc. in Freeport. Visit to see speaker biographies, full event schedules, become a member, and learn more about how you can help protect beautiful Merrymeeting Bay.

Call Kathleen McGee, 666-3598



Watercolors by
Sarah Stapler