The National Sea Grant Law Center


  • Best Practices for Regulating Seaweed as Human Food
  • Sea Grant programs throughout the nation are currently helping growers in their states enter the U.S. seaweed aquaculture industry. The emerging industry in the United States presents novel legal considerations, including how to regulate the sale of seaweed in its whole form as a food product. There is currently no federal guidance on the food safety risks of seaweed in its whole form, leaving states unsure how to proceed with their own laws and regulations, impeding the growth of the industry.

    In 2019, the National Sea Grant Law Center, in partnership with Connecticut Sea Grant, received funding from the National Sea Grant College Program to enhance coordination and cooperation among states to build policy consensus as to the preferred approaches for regulating the sale of seaweed in its whole form for food. There are three components to this project: (1) conducting legal research to identify and assess potential models; (2) convening a collaborative learning workshop to engage stakeholders, and (3) developing a model law, regulation, or guidance document for the sale of seaweed in its whole form as food.

  • Legal Research

  • Presentation: Determining the Best Method of State Regulation of Seaweed as a
              Food Product

    Article: Navigating the Kelp Forest: Current Legal Issues Surrounding Seaweed Wild
              Harvest and Aquaculture

    Advisory Request re Regulation of Seaweed as a Food Source

    Inventory of State Laws Affecting Commercial Seaweed Aquaculture

  • 2020 Webinar Series

  • The NSGLC hosted a series of webinars from August through November to build foundational knowledge and initiate networking opportunities among state regulators, federal partners, and industry members.

    The first webinar focused on the federal framework, and featured presentations on food safety hazards associated with seaweed and the role of the Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture. The second webinar focused on recent state efforts to develop or reform laws, policies, and programs to facilitate the emerging seaweed industry. The third and final webinar featured a panel of seaweed industry members from across the country discussing food safety approaches and challenges. Only the federal and industry webinars were recorded. The recordings and presentation slides from those webinars are below.

  • Seaweed Food Safety: Federal Considerations

    Presentation: Seaweed Food Safety: Federal Considerations

    Seaweed Food Safety: Industry Panel

    Presentation: Seaweed Food Safety: Industry Panel

  • Building Consensus on Seafood Food Safety: A Collaborative Workshop

    The National Sea Grant Law Center and Connecticut Sea Grant will host a virtual collaborative learning workshop for state regulators on seaweed food safety on March 8 – 19, 2021. Through this workshop, state regulators will have the opportunity to:

    • Learn more about federal and state legal frameworks governing seaweed food safety;
    • Network with other colleagues working on these issues;
    • Gain a better understanding of the seaweed food safety workflow in their state; and
    • Collaboratively determine what type of guidance documents would be helpful to develop to move interstate conversations forward.

    Participation in the workshop is limited to state regulators and select federal partners. A workshop summary report will be released in April.

    As part of the planning process for this workshop, the National Sea Grant Law Center distributed a short survey to members of the seaweed industry to learn more about their approach to seaweed food safety. The survey did not solicit enough responses to provide informative data at this time. The National Sea Grant Law Center may re-open the survey to industry members in the future to gather more data.

  • Seaweed Hub

    The Sea Grant network has established a National Seaweed Hub to serve as a science-based, non-advocacy resource for the domestic seaweed and seaweed aquaculture industry. The NSGLC serves as the facilitator of the Virtual Work Group for Regulations.

    In addition to serving as a facilitators at the National Seaweed Symposium in Providence, RI in March 2020, NSGLC attorneys assisted with editing the “State of the States of the Domestic Seaweed Industry” presentation.

Questions About Projects?

Have questions or comments about projects at the National Sea Grant Law Center?
Feel free to contact us!

Call or fax us at:
662-915-5267 (fax)