While the Shinnecock Nation no longer lives off the waters off Long Island, kelp, a large, fast-growing brown seaweed that sequesters carbon and pollutants and is used in foods, pharmaceuticals, and fertilizers, could be an economic lifeline for its 800 residents. The global commercial seaweed market may reach $25 billion by 2028 while the US kelp market is expected to quadruple by 2035. In 2019, attorney Tela Troge was looking for a way to create jobs and clean up Shinnecock Bay when GreenWave, a nonprofit that promotes regenerative ocean farming, proposed a kelp hatchery. Troge and five other women formed the Shinnecock Kelp Farm, and by the spring of 2022, had harvested 100 pounds of kelp. They dried most of it and sold it as organic fertilizer, donating the excess back to GreenWave. This year, the women plan to expand from 20 spools of kelp to 200. Researchers say kelp farms remove 575 pounds of nitrogen per acre and seaweed aquaculture could absorb nearly 240 million tons by 2050, equal to the annual emissions from more than 50 million cars powered by fossil fuels.

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