Harwich Approves Kelp Farm Expansion

HARWICH – Selectmen in Harwich have approved a request to expand a local experimental kelp farm.

Kelpeher Farms, which currently operates on a single acre site along the Herring River received permission to extend their work to up to 2½ acres.

Since beginning the effort last year, Kepleher has grown kelp along eight-inches of line outside the river, and expects growth to accelerate to another five or six feet before they harvest next month.

Kelpeher farmer Mark Kelleher told the board that he plans to extend the operation to four lines for the upcoming growing season and would eventually hike to have between eight and 10 lines for sugar kelp growth.

Harbormaster John Rendon expressed some reservations with the plan.

“From my perspective as the harbormaster, I do have some concerns,” he explained, “If we expand and we have more lines in the water I think it can become a navigational issue. Where his experimental lines are right off the Herring River, during the summer it’s busy.”

Sugar kelp, which has been in growing demand in recent years, is native to local waters and provides the added benefit removing nitrogen from marine waters.

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