Research ProposalPDF Available

Science Enables Aquatic Foods (SEAFoods) with Healthy Oceans - A Proposed Programme Description for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development


Abstract and Figures

SEAFoods is a proposal to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). It will work with communities around the world to integrate ocean science with sustainable development and healthy oceans by constructing artificial reef ecosystems utilizing digital twin computer models to increase profitable production of aquatic foods while improving biodiversity. Partners include WorldFish, the University of the South Pacific, Zanzibar Seaweed Cluster Initiative, Love The Oceans (Mozambique), International Ocean Institute-Southern Africa, supported by specially qualified experts and organizations. The 2050 goal is to support an increase from the current ~200 to 500 million tonnes/year of aquatic foods with a byproduct of a billion tonnes/year of CO2 nature-based climate mitigation and sequestration.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 1
Science Enables Aquatic Foods (SEAFoods) with Healthy Oceans
A Proposed Programme Description for the
UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)
October 2021
1. Executive Summary
2. Recent research supporting urgency for SEAFoods programme
3. Details of Science and Sustainable Development
3.1 Seafood Production and Science
3.2 Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) with nutrient recycling
4. Ocean Decade Vision and Mission
5. Ocean Decade Outcomes
6. Fulfilling Ocean Decade Challenges
7. Achieving Decade Objectives
8. Achieving Sustainable Development Goals
9. Contributing to Decade Criteria
10. Knowledge uptake, data sharing, partnerships, capacity development, diversity,
local and indigenous knowledge
11. Lead Institution, Tasks, Support Services (Partners)Appendix A Typical Projects
Appendix B Seaweed-Shellfish-Finfish CDR with Negative-Carbon Aquatic Foods
Appendix C Digital Twin numerical model
Appendix D Budget & Logic Framework
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 2
Summary description of proposed Decade Programme
SEAFoods works with communities around the world to integrate ocean science with sustainable
development and healthy oceans by constructing artificial reef ecosystems utilizing digital twin
computer models to increase profitable production of aquatic foods while improving
biodiversity. Partners include WorldFish, the University of the South Pacific, Zanzibar Seaweed
Cluster Initiative, Love The Oceans (Mozambique), International Ocean Institute-Southern
Africa, supported by specially qualified experts and organizations. The 2050 goal is to support an
increase from the current ~200 to 500 million tonnes/year of aquatic foods with a byproduct of a
billion tonnes/year of CO2 nature-based climate mitigation and sequestration.
1. Executive Summary
Science Enables Aquatic Foods (SEAFoods, short title for this proposed $1 billion Decade
Programme) provides a science and sustainable development network system that puts the
coastal communities in control and networks them globally with support systems. Each
community implements the ocean science and ocean sustainable development that community
wants. The communities talk to each other about how they are each creating sustainable
development and the services and service agencies they are finding most helpful. The
communities also network with regional and global service agencies for economy-of-scale on
shared tasks. Over time, the networking allows all communities to apply what they see as the
most needed ocean science and more robustly sustainable approaches for their community. Over
the Ocean Decade, the communities organize to fund the services they want using the income
from their Aquatic Foods Ecosystems. The organization is diagrammed in Figure 1.
Figure 1 SEAFoods programme organization
1 University of the South Pacific (USP), Suva, Fiji (~100 communities)
2 International Ocean Institute Southern Africa (IOI-SA), Newlands, South Africa
3 Zanzibar Seaweed Cluster Initiative (ZaSCI), Zanzibar, Tanzania (near 30 communities)
4 Love The Oceans (LTO), Guinjata Bay, Mozambique (3 communities)
5 WorldFish (~100 communities)
6 OceanForesters is a benefit corporation providing organizing, engineering, and science
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 3
Funding agencies can choose how and where they direct initial funds. Small (a few $millions)
funds might go directly to an already organized community, such as ZaSCI or LTO. Medium
(near $100 million over the decade) funds might go directly to a regional lead institution
providing the desired services, such as WorldFish and USP. Large funds (a few $billions over
the decade) might initially go to OceanForesters who could contract for finance and accounting
and expand the programme throughout the globe. Eventually, the communities self-organize to
share work, promote their interests, and cooperate on tasks that are too large for any one
community. That is, the organization of networked communities select their service providers.
Science and Sustainable Development Overview
SEAFoods emphasizes science that “leaves no one behind.” Communities select their science and
sustainable development, be it instrumented no-take zones, instrumented seaweed farming,
shellfish with seaweed farming, and/or multi-product ecosystems managed with a digital twin
(computer model). Funding agencies can help communities see the benefits ecological
sustainability, economic responsibility, and social equity. All these options can be considered as
variations on Aquatic Foods Ecosystems (AFEcosystems), which involve new reef structures as
shown in Figures 2 and 3. AFEcosystems will work best when associated with rotating no-take
zones. The concepts
associated with
AFEcosystems, can also be
described as “agroecology”
(terrestrial), “proactive
conservation management”,
“biodiversity conservation
with livelihoods” (both of
which are both terrestrial and
marine), and “aquaecology”
(marine). Appendix A
contains typical projects.
The AFEcosystems with
rotating no-take zones are sustainable development for each community. The AFEcosystems can
also be thought of as ocean science equipment that pays for itself and eventually funds continued
improvement of a digital twin. A digital twin is the ocean science each community needs to manage
their AFEcosystems and rotating no-take zones through decades of warming, acidification, and
other issues. The digital twin will have an intuitive interface to engage people and communities at
all educational and/or training levels
with their new ocean resources. (Cell
phones and video games have
intuitive human-computer interfaces.)
Significant Impacts and Outcomes
AFEcosystems, especially those
with nutrient recycling, are a new
ocean resource providing jobs and
food security on what was
relatively unproductive ocean.
That is, jobs with income that
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 4
supports community health and education in such abundance that the community can welcome
refugees to join their community permanently.
Nutrient cycling calculations suggest the globally combined sustainable food production of the
AFEcosystems is the limit of demand for seafood, thought to be near 500 million tonnes per
year by 2050. That would be double today’s combined terrestrial meat and seafood production.
Artificial reef refuges provide critical habitat for fish eggs and larvae, forming the nurseries to
restore global fish populations and ocean biodiversity.
The digital twin will allow a proactive and dynamic management approach for multi-purpose
flexibility in marine spatial planning (changing take and no-take zones and species monthly).
That is, their digital twin allows each community to try many different actions and implement
those that optimize robust biodiversity with decades of sustained productivity.
Finally, AFEcosystems can provide a billion metric tons of CO2 per year climate mitigation
when food production is at 500 million tonnes per year. The climate mitigation is a combination
of low to negative carbon footprint high-protein seafood and carbon dioxide removal (CDR),
explained in Appendix B. WorldFish, USP, ZaSCI, and OceanForesters are proposing a
kiloton/year demonstration of Seaweed-Shellfish-Finfish CDR for the CDR XPrize.
2. Recent research supporting urgency for SEAFoods programme
Oceans need AFEcosystems to function as lifeboats for each community’s aquatic species. Each
community can have self-rescuing eco-lifeboats, as in Figure 4. That is seafood production can
pay for monitoring, modeling, adaptation (cooling the ecosystem, increasing dissolved oxygen
during heat waves, and reducing ocean acidification), and climate mitigations including CDR.
Fig. 4 Loss of life could have been avoided if the Titanic had carried sufficient lifeboats. Loss
of species may be avoided if we create sufficient eco-lifeboats managed with digital twins.
September 2020 Half of resources in threatened species conservation plans are allocated to
research and monitoring” Lead author Rachel Buxton: "In some ways, it's like we're counting the
deck chairs on the Titanic,” [rather than actually saving species]. A more nuanced analogy from
a discussion with Dr. Phillip Williamson: The monitoring and predictive modeling of
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 5
environmental science (aka producing digital twins computer models) updates our ability to avoid
hazards, like providing radar to the lookouts on the Titanic and ensuring the radioed “ice ahead”
warnings from other ships reach the ship’s captain. Per Figure 4, the Titanic’s lifeboat capacity
could have saved only a third of the people aboard, if loaded efficiently. Like the Titanic, Earth
lacks adequate and sufficient eco-lifeboats to survive climate change.
September 2019 SEAFoods ecosystems can employ concepts in “Harnessing global fisheries to
tackle micronutrient deficiencies to provide the most needed micronutrients locally and in an
alliance of globally dispersed local coastal communities.
April 2020 A quote from “Rebuilding marine life“Rebuilding fish stocks can be supported by
market-based instruments, such as …the growth of truly sustainable aquaculture to reduce pressure
on wild stocks.” SEAFoods builds truly sustainable aquaculture while building the science to
ensure true sustainability with robust biodiversity and species survival.
July 2020 Oceans become more acidic (lower pH, ocean acidification) as more CO2 is dissolved
in water. Sea plants raise pH by removing CO2 during photosynthesis. Plants can raise pH so much
that nano particles of calcium carbonate form and drift down current. See Chesapeake Bay
acidification buffered by spatially decoupled carbonate mineral cycling.” Sea creatures can more
easily form and maintain their shells in the higher pH near sea plants and where calcium carbonate
buffers the pH. Growing sea plants counters ocean acidification locally, as in the water in and
down current of a kelp forest. Decomposing plant material and animal respiration could put CO2
back in the water (lowering pH). However, removing carbon from the water (by harvesting sea
plants and/or sea creatures) provides a long-term, if local, antidote to ocean acidification. Also,
because seafood has a much lower carbon footprint than does meat, producing and consuming
more seafood instead of meat means less carbon emissions and less ocean acidification globally.
September 2020 110 aquatic scientific societies, representing over 80,000 scientists, suggest the
urgent need for SEAFoods in the American Fisheries Society's Statement of World Aquatic
Scientific Societies on the Need to Take Urgent Action Against Human-Caused Climate Change,
Based on Scientific Evidence.”
April 2021 Data on 48,661 species show that marine biodiversity is declining near the equator.
See Global warming is causing a more pronounced dip in marine species richness around the
June 2021 Theuerkauf, et al. (2021) report a systematic literature review proves “the commercial
cultivation of bivalve shellfish and seaweed can deliver valuable ecosystem goods and services,
including provision of new habitats for fish and mobile invertebrate species.” Costa-Pierce and
Chopin (2021) agree with us that the first focus of seaweed cultivation should be producing food,
pharmaceuticals and other valuable products (not producing biofuels or sinking it for carbon
July 2021 Pacific Northwest Heat Wave Killed More Than One Billion Sea Creatures.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 6
3. Details of Ocean Science and Sustainable Development
3.1 Seafood Production and Science
The terms “Science Enables Aquatic Foods (SEAFoods) ecosystem”, “Aquatic Foods Ecosystem
(AFEcosystem)”, SEAFoods ecosystem lifeboats”, lifeboat ecosystem”, “built-reef ecosystems”
and “eco-lifeboats” all refer to truly sustainable aquaculture that operates like a natural reef. On a
natural reef, life creates the conditions for more life. The wastes of animals become nutrients for
plants and other animals so multiple species thrive. Plants use sunlight (photosynthesis) to turn a
small amount of nutrients into a substantial amount of food.
SEAFoods built-reef ecosystems would be built outside of existing and future marine protected
areas (MPAs), in areas where there is currently low biodiversity and low productivity, even inside
a dead zone or other polluted area, in intertidal zone, moored out to about 200-m seafloor depth,
and drifting in the deep ocean . The new reef ecosystems include science-based adaptations to
support continued biodiversity and productivity for centuries. With vastly increased seafood
production on their own new reef ecosystems, built and managed to their specifications, coastal
communities can more readily accept vastly increased MPAs. SEAFoods reefs can also clean up
dead zones and other areas with excess nutrients.
Opportunities and examples for AFEcosystems
The following opportunities and examples share a common theme of restoring the entire
ecosystem, not just the key species. Appendix A details typical projects.
US Gulf Coast A US Gulf Coast AFEcosystem can harness the seasonal influx of nutrients from
the Mississippi River. Macroalgae would absorb, store, and buffer the inorganic nutrient supply
while raising pH and supplying dissolved oxygen. The oysters (and other filter feeders) improve
water clarity and consume the seasonal microalgae blooms such that very little decaying algae
remains in the water column or on the seafloor (Racine et al. 2020). That is, the AFEcosystem can
create a small “life zone” surrounded by a dead zone. See descriptions by Capron et al. (2018) and
Lucas et al. (2019a, 2019b).
Southern California sandy seafloor kelp ecosystem On sandy seafloors, kelp will attach to the
“shells” that tubeworms build by gluing together masses of sand. After much trial and error, Bob
Kiel (2020) has discovered that installing a California two-spot octopus’ home every 15 meters
might be all that is needed to return kelp forest ecosystems to pre-European abundance, as the
octopus eats herbivorous crabs that often prevent kelp from growing to maturity.
Areas with native giant clams AFEcosystems in the South Pacific, Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea,
and the east coast of Africa can employ giant clams with their symbiotic algae. The clams’
symbiotic algae can provide more primary productivity than macroalgae (Neo et al. 2015). This
may make mature giant clams resistant to ocean acidification and capable of carbon dioxide
removal (CDR) as explained in Appendix B.
Assisted-rise living reefs, global Interlocking artificial rocks, perhaps ceramic, can be designed to
stabilize beaches and mangroves during storms while providing secure anchors for plants, shellfish,
and other sea life. Beach biodiversity and stability could be improved using artificial rocks to form
tide pools.
Nature-based climate mitigations and CDR, global A marine Aquatic Foods Ecosystem
(AFEcosystem) consists of flora and fauna. The flora’s photosynthesis provides food and oxygen
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 7
for fauna while raising pH. The food is carbon dioxide converted to organic carbon. The fauna
fixes carbon as calcium carbonate while lowering pH. In addition to profitable food production
described below, the AFEcosystem supports five climate change mitigations detailed in Appendix
Every AFEcosystem should include nature-based CDR by growing shell-forming creatures and
underwater plants in proximity. The photosynthesis adds dissolved oxygen and raises pH to
counter ocean acidification. Filter feeding shellfish improve water clarity while converting organic
particulates into inorganic plant nutrients, which enables more photosynthesis.
Producing a million metric tons of shellfish meat co-produces 5 to 7 million tons of shell when the
shell/meat ratio is similar to that of oysters. After adjusting for respiration of CO2 (energy used by
the shellfish to build shell), 6 million tonnes of shell capture 2 million tonnes of CO2 in long term
storage and 12,000 to 18,000 tonnes of nitrogen. (Note that the chemistry/biology of shell
formation requires that it be co-incident with (near) underwater photosynthesis, such as seaweed.)
That is, shellfish meat can be carbon negative if the carbon footprint of growing, harvesting,
processing, and transporting can be kept small. See discussion in Appendix B Seaweed-Shellfish-
Finfish CDR.
Related terrestrial and marine concepts The term AFEcosystems” can also be described as
“agroecology” (terrestrial), “proactive conservation management”, “biodiversity conservation
with livelihoods” (both), and “aquaecology” (marine). The Deccan Development Society (DDS)
in India provides a terrestrial example. DDS is a farming cooperative of Dalit (oppressed caste)
and Adivasi (Indigenous) women that grows as many as 40 crop species on each hectare (Kothari
2021). Dr. Flower Msuya (2016) is guiding the Zanzibar Seaweed Cluster Initiative (ZaSCI) as a
marine example. When the shallow and intertidal water became too warm, she was forced to move
seaweed farming into deeper water. Deep water requires boats. Boats require more income. In
addition to the ZaSCI refining seaweed into higher value products, they have added fish traps and
are now starting to farm giant clams. That is, ZaSCI is building their AFEcosystem. (Msuya 2021)
Seafood income means that coastal communities, investors, and MPAs would not rely solely on
tourist income. The income from seafood produced on the built reef would pay for science and
poaching prevention sensors. The sensors will be on the built reef, managed by citizen-scientist-
fishing-people, and also in the MPA. Nearby MPAs would be managed for tourist income while
also providing sea creature services that might not be available on the initial built reefs, such as
spawning habitat, turtle shell cleaning stations, etc.
Conditions for SEAFoods built-reef ecosystems generally span between two extremes:
a. In sheltered shallow water with excess nutrients and sediment (Fig. 2) Clarify the water
with farmed filter feeders (shellfish, some finfish) and sediment capture (mangroves,
seagrass). Increase macroalgae substrate in the photic zone. The substrate may be a mix of
bamboo, rope, and nets. Where native, giant clams are both filter feeders and primary
b. In the open ocean, as much as 200-m seafloor depth (Fig. 3) Install permanent flexible
floating fishing reefs at the optimum depth for the desired native macroalgae, filter feeders,
shellfish, and crawling sea creatures. Recycle nutrients from land (people and livestock)
matching the amount on nutrients extracted from the fishing reef.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 8
Projecting a 2050 demand of 500 million tonnes of seafood per year suggests the 2030 goals for
both Sustainable Development and the UN Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable
Development should be 100 million tonnes/yr of seafood from built reefs by 2030. This amount
of seafood replacing meat would save 1.5 billion tonnes/yr of CO2eq plus conserve more
freshwater than the flow of the Mississippi River. The seafood would be worth about $200
billion/yr at the dock. Ten percent of ten years of income implies $200 billion may be available
for ocean conservation and research to sustain ocean ecosystems through a century of climate
Human and livestock waste collection and recycling systems can maintain public health while
recovering all freshwater, energy, and nutrients to produce more food. When nutrients are
recycled effectively, the food-waste-food circular economy should cost less than current systems
for “treating” human and livestock waste. That is, new water resource recovery systems will
recover nutrients instead of using energy-intensive oxidize-the-carbon and convert-ammonia-to-
nitrogen gas technologies that are commonly used in developed country wastewater treatment.
Build on the understandings and recommendations of Hoegh-Guldberg, et al. (2019),
particularly: “Conserving and protecting blue carbon ecosystems, … Restoration and expansion
of degraded blue carbon ecosystems, … Expansion of seaweed (macroalgae) through aquaculture
…”. Seafood is addressed as a climate change mitigation: “There are two principal ways in
which ocean-based foods can contribute significantly to climate change mitigation. One seeks to
reduce the carbon footprint of ocean-derived food production. For example, changing fuel
sources in vessels and technological advances in production techniques can alter the emissions
associated with seafood from both wild-caught fisheries and ocean-based aquaculture. The other
seeks to identify emission reductions from potentially shifting more GHG-intensive diets to those
that include more GHG-friendly seafood options, if those seafood options can be provided on a
sustainable basis.”
Sustainable, eco-friendly seafoods require purpose-built new seaweed and sea animal ecosystems,
as in Figures 2 and 3. OceanForesters’ Total Ecosystem Aquaculture reefs (Capron et al. 2018,
Lucas et al. 2019a and 2019b; Capron et al. 2020a and 2020b) present one such ecosystem. These
are purpose-built seafood-reefs. Each seafood-reef involves installing artificial substrate for the
growth of plants and sea creatures supported by the engineered return of nutrients equal to the
amount of nutrients removed.
The nutrient return, planting, stocking, and harvest is managed to maintain a healthy biodiverse
reef ecosystem. Potential seafood species include: mud crab, giant clams, oysters, crabs,
shrimps, lobsters, octopus, squid, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, sponges, and free-range finfish,
including milkfish, perch, grouper, snapper, sea bream, and many more. Ecosystem support
species (necessary but not typically harvested) include: seaweed, seagrass, mangroves, coral,
worms, barnacles, snails, sea stars, anemones, microscopic creatures, bacteria, and much more.
In the tropics, throughout their pre-historic range, giant clams may be the keystone species of
built-reef ecosystems and nearby natural coral reef ecosystems. Per Neo (2015), giant clams’
internal algae can provide more net primary productivity than coral or most macroalgae. Giant
clams provide food for local organisms directly through their tissue and indirectly through the
discharge of feces, gametes (reproductive cells), and zooxanthellae (photosynthetic algae). Neo
et al. (2015) and references therein goes on to explain that giant clams control eutrophication (in
areas of excess nutrients) two ways: (1) filtering large quantities of seawater, clearing the water
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 9
of microalgae; and (2) assimilating inorganic nutrients. All this means tropical built-reef
ecosystems could employ nutrient recycling to increase fish harvest productivity while
improving the health of nearby natural coral reefs. The typical tropical built-reef might have a
few hundred mature (+20 years old) giant clams and a few hundred thousand juvenile (less than
10 years old) giant clams.
Ocean science is essential to find ways to maintain tropical fisheries despite more and more
urgent issues than are shown in Figure 5: (1) Dahlke et al. (2020) found that embryos and adult
fish when breeding are much more sensitive to warming than fish at other life stages. (2) Marine
heatwaves are shifting ocean temperatures at similar scales to what is anticipated with climate
change but in much shorter time frames. The average climate change temperature shift in 2020
is about 20 kilometers per decade. Marine heat waves displace temperatures an average of 200-
km in a few months (Jacox et al. 2020).
Fig. 5 Changes in local ecosystems due to increased greenhouse gas concentrations (The
debate on how and why fish size changes with warmer water is ongoing.)
Plants in the ocean may respond to heat waves the same way land plants do. McGowan et al.
(2020) studied subtropical coastal ecosystems in eastern Australia. They found the optimum
temperature range for photosynthesis of 24.1°C to 27.4°C. Temperatures above optimum were
accompanied with rapid decline in photosynthetic production, made worse if soil water content
decreases. (The response of plants in the ocean to rising temperatures will not be dependent on
soil water content, but might be dependent on salinity, or nutrient availability, or some other
Ocean science could include intense data gathering to produce a numerical model (a digital twin)
of each community’s AFEcosystem. This will involve measurements of environmental DNA in
water samples and creature stomachs, automated flow cytometry, autonomous image recognition
from stationary and mobile cameras, autonomous signal processing for active and passive sonar,
and assorted chemistry and physical properties sensors. Appendix C Digital Twin has details.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 10
Much of this science data pays for itself through increased seafood production. For example, the
graph at upper right of Figure 6 shows that dissolved oxygen concentrations drop and fish need
more oxygen as waters warm. Adequate sensors plus seaweed reefs may support maintenance of
macroalgal oxygen production for abundant fish production even as waters warm.
The simplified diagram in Figure 7 hints at the complexity of total ecosystem aquaculture. Each
coastal community will need a computer model with information output like shown in the picture
at the right to manage their ecosystem. The model should include at least the product species
plus dozens of the other species important to ecosystem health, even including bacteria.
Fig. 6 Shows the double whammy of equilibrium dissolved oxygen concentrations dropping
while animals need for oxygen increases as water temperature increases.
Fig. 7 A schematic of nutrient, energy, and biomass flows into, within, and out of the built
reef to the left of a representation for how a model of those flows might be displayed
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 11
The approach will reduce the risk of ecosystem crashes by developing computer models for
built-reef ecosystems. The computer models would allow “what if” for actions when anticipating
events. For example, 90% of Northern California’s kelp forests disappeared when sea stars died-
off and sea urchin populations exploded. Kelp and abalone populations both crashed. The
computer helps predict the possible situation and allows trying many options, on the computer,
months in advance. Do you harvest the sea urchins for sale to Japan or throw them into
mangrove forests to feed mud crabs? Or do you find another community with an abundance of
lobsters. You give them urchins to feed their lobsters. They give you lobsters to eat your urchins.
Table 1 Sketch of database matrix with examples of a few of the seafood species and a few of
the parameters that would go into a computer model.
Species harvested for people
Giant Clam
Rock oysters
Giant Trevally
Mahi Mahi
Red Snapper
other finfish
sea urchin
Optimum standing biomass
Typical yield (t/ha/yr)
Typical dock value ($/kg)
Time, larvae to harvest (days)
Maximum temperature for successful completion of each life stage (ºC). Or perhaps this is some
combination of temperature and dissolved oxygen concentration.
Describe spawning timing (text)
Describe embryo behavior (text)
What it eats or limiting nutrients
How much it eats (kg food/kg body
How it eats, daily and seasonal
variation (kg vs. time)
Dissolved oxygen consumption or
production (g O2/kg body mass/hr)
Variations in O2 consumption or
production with sunlight and
temperature (g O2 vs. light and
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 12
Table 2 Sketch of database with a few of the ecosystem maintenance species (rarely harvested
for seafood) species and a few of the parameters that would go into a computer model.
Other important ecosystem species
Parrot fish
Optimum standing biomass (tonne/ha)
Maximum temperature for successful completion of each life stage (ºC). Or perhaps this is some
combination of temperature and dissolved oxygen concentration.
Describe spawning timing (text)
Describe embryo behavior (text)
What it eats or limiting nutrients (text)
How much it eats (kg food/kg body
How it eats, daily and seasonal
variation (kg vs. time)
Dissolved oxygen consumption or
production (g O2/kg body mass/hr)
Variations in O2 consumption or
production with sunlight and
temperature (g O2 vs. light and
Ideally, the model of nutrient flow, species populations, and harvests can be extended to include
the interrelationships amongst food systems (e.g., production, processing, distribution, waste),
health (consumption), the environment (sustainability), and public policy. Every built-reef
ecosystem could benchmark its environmental benefits and impacts with to-be-developed
methodologies and techniques to calculate, model, and simulate these benefits and impacts.
Operators of SEAFoods may raise the bar for healthy food and ecosystem services. They may
need new metrics so that food consumers and governments can distinguish the merits of eating
wild-caught, free-range SEAFoods seafood from penned aquaculture with IMTA, penned
aquaculture without IMTA, etc.
The food and science reefs are best placed where there is the most urgent need for seafood and
science, along tropical coastlines where the seafloor depth is between 0 to 200 meters. If the
seafloor is less than about 30 meters, the reef is best placed where the water has an excess of
nutrients and/or sediment. That is, the natural situation is lacking biodiversity and productivity.
Professors at the University of the South Pacific explain applying shallow water built-reef
ecosystems in Figure 2 and at:
In seafloor depths between about 30 to 200 meters, the purpose-built reef would be flexible,
floating, and permanent, as in Figure 3. Generally, the reef’s plant-growing substrate would be 3
to 10 meters deep depending on the optimum depth for the local macroalgae or seagrass. The
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 13
reef might submerge to 50-meter depth, when tropical storms pass nearby. Open ocean reefs are
further described in this presentation by Don Piper at the International Symposium on Stock
Enhancement & Sea Ranching (Capron and Piper 2019). Some of the research from the
AdjustaDepth project for the U.S. Department of Energy, Advanced Research Project Agency-
Energy’s MARINER program can expand seafood production (Lucas et al 2019b).
AdjustaDepth project deliverables are available at ResearchGate or at:
Each region of the world would benefit from a research and training center (perhaps a Decade
Collaborative Centre) near a host university with access to seafloor, oceanographic, and
nutrient conditions typical of a larger area. This because the nature of the structures, the storms,
and the animals interacting with the structures vary greatly between regions. Example locations
for the first food and science open-ocean reefs include: Fiji, The Bay of Thailand; the Bay of
Bengal; near Tanzania and/or Madagascar; near Ghana; Central America (both Caribbean and
Pacific); the Eastern Mediterranean Sea; and more. Each ecological region could showcase
typical species and tropical marine ecosystems for many countries near them.
There are some non-tropical countries where food and science reefs are needed for general ocean
health, adaptations for climate impacts, and/or peace. For example, nutrient recycling built-reef
ecosystems in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea (which is oligotrophic, per Massa et al. 2017) could
create jobs for migrants and Palestinians. Built reef ecosystems would not need recycled
nutrients in the dead zones, such as the Danish Baltic Sea and the outlet of the Mississippi River
in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The area of Danish seas affected by low oxygen levels is double
what it was in 2000, now at about 3,300 km2.
The OceanForesters were part of a team funded by the US Department of Energy to find
inexpensive ways to grow and harvest macroalgae-for-energy. The team, led by aquaculture
experts at the University of Southern Mississippi, University of New Hampshire, University of
the South Pacific and others estimated the comparative economics of built reef ecosystems with
free-range finfish relative to penned finfish aquaculture. Figure 8’s graphic shows that built reef
ecosystems are more like renewable electricity with a small operating cost and a larger
infrastructure cost. The high cost of fishmeal and the low cost of infrastructure for penned
finfish aquaculture is more like fossil fuel electricity.
Fig. 8 SEAFoods Economics Comparing the economics of seafood from built reef
ecosystems with seafood from penned finfish aquaculture
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 14
The $40/ton of fish for the plant food is based on supplying nitrogen as ammonia at 1.5 times the
current cost of ammonia. The cost assumes only 50% of the supplied nitrogen gets into a fish
product. Our fish products include finfish, shellfish, mollusks, crustaceans, seaweed, …
everything that will grow over, in, and around our floating flexible reef.
The $1,000/ton of fish for the structure is based on OceanForesters’ techno-economic analysis
prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy
MARINER program (Lucas et al 2019b). The reef is designed for a 20-year service life while
surviving hurricanes in 50 to 100-meter seafloor depths in the Gulf of Mexico. Sheltered
locations would be much less expensive. Some of the harvest would be exported to developed
countries for values ranging from US$2,000 to US$4,000 per wet or shell-on tonne, with
resulting large export revenues helping economic self-sufficiency.
Bottom line, not including operating labor in either case, is: Fish products from an open-ocean
flexible floating reef will cost about half as much as products from pens. Fish products from
sheltered water built-reef ecosystems, perhaps a fifth as much as products from pens.
A thousand people provide sufficient nutrients to grow about 700 wet tons of seaweed per 20-
hectares of reef per year. Allowing for the difference in protein density, about half that seaweed
productivity would give about 150 wet tons of non-seaweed high-value seafood. At $2 per wet
kilogram, the projection is $30 million revenue per year at the dock from one open-ocean 20-
hectare reef.
3.2 Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) with nutrient recycling
Initially, human wastes were collected and treated as a public health measure. Diseases and
parasites that kill many people are transmitted in feces and water that contacted feces: typhoid,
cholera, polio, intestinal worms, etc. Therefore, public health is the top requirement for human
waste resource recovery systems, followed closely by sustainability. True sustainability requires
recycling the energy, the nutrients, and the water. True sustainability is exemplified by the
“wastewater treatment” industry’s move to “water resource recovery.” Developed countries are
burdened with systems that focused on public health and “treatment.” The lack of infrastructure
in some countries allows quick adoption of many existing and emerging safe and sustainable
human waste collection and recycling systems including:
a. SANERGY franchises its urine-diverting toilets and operating system that converts human
and organic wastes into organic fertilizer and insect-based fish and animal feed. The urine
can be pasteurized and distributed as liquid fertilizer. Colonies of Black Soldier Flies produce
pathogen-free larvae a nutrient-rich protein input for fish and animal feed. On November 19,
2011 World Toilet Day Sanergy opened the first Fresh Life Toilet in Mukuru Kwa
Njenga slum. Today, Sanergy has over 400 employees, 60% of whom live in the
communities served from their headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.
b. The Rich Earth Institute explains the benefits and “how-to” of collecting urine. Note that a
developed country (Vermont, USA) utility found that collecting, pasteurizing, and selling
urine as fertilizer was less expensive and uses less energy than removing the ammonia
nitrogen at its wastewater treatment plant.
c. Feces can also be collected safely and effectively, if careful. Feces contain substantial
carbon, which supports processes like anaerobic digestion or hydrothermal liquefaction
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 15
(HTL) to produce biogas or biocrude oil separated from the recycle-ready nutrients. Because
the HTL process can also convert many plastics to biocrude and pasteurizes at 350°C, it may
be particularly safe and effective for feces, medical wastes, and preventing epidemics.
d. Locations with existing collection systems and energy-intense treatment systems should
consider pasteurizing the wastewater immediately downstream of screens and grinders. By
using heat exchangers, pasteurizing can be accomplished with low grade (70 to 90ºC)
“waste” heat from electricity production. HRS offers a heat exchanger system. PTG Water
& Energy offers an integrated system of gas turbine and heat exchangers. After the waste is
pasteurized, the existing treatment facilities could be converted to grow food (for animals, if
not people). Options include: (1) growing filter feeders (shellfish) in the pasteurized water;
(2) settling and/or filtering out the solids for consumption by black soldier fly larvae; and (3)
distributing the pasteurized water on agriculture and/or built reef ecosystems.
e. ECOLOO is a Swedish odorless water-free toilet with special bacteria that digest both urine
and feces producing a pathogen-free liquid fertilizer (plus some mineral-rich solid fertilizer).
f. Calysta makes high protein fishmeal pellets from methane. A similar process could be used
to make high protein fishmeal pellets from pasteurized sewage. Either fishmeal pellets
would be a good way to distribute nutrients into otherwise oligotrophic (starved for nutrients)
total ecosystem aquaculture.
Ocean Science is essential for optimizing the distribution of nutrients on total ecosystem
aquaculture systems to enhance yield, bio-diversity and sustainability. The rate of nutrient dose
needs to be less than the capacity of the plants to supply dissolved oxygen to bacteria consuming
the dissolved organic carbon. The plants’ oxygen production will vary with sunlight. The
nutrient dose rate needs to be adjusted each hour of the day and each season of the year
depending on the amount of organic carbon and hour-to-hour variations in sunlight. At the same
time, the rate of nutrient dose needs to support the biomass of the standing stock of plants to
maintain ecosystem biodiversity. It may be important to stock (from hatchery) filter feeding
shellfish and/or finfish to maintain water clarity as the bacteria consuming the organic carbon
move up the food chain.
4. Ocean Decade Vision and Mission
In the name “UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development,” every word matters.
Consolidated SEAFoods is Sustainable Development (increased sustainable seafood production
infrastructure). Ocean science and indigenous knowledge combining to produce a computer
model of the ecosystem is essential for the sustainable development.
The Decade Vision is: “The science we need for the ocean we want,” and the Mission is:
“Transformative ocean science solutions for sustainable development, connecting people and our
ocean.” Consolidated SEAFoods provides the “science that member communities need for the
ocean member communities want.” The combination of no-take reservoirs with built reefs will
be truly transformative ocean science solutions for sustainable development.
The approach is also consistent with the Decade context to “harness, stimulate and coordinate
interdisciplinary research efforts at all levels, in order to support delivery of the information,
action and solutions needed to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 16
The Consolidated SEAFoods emphasizes delivery of the information, action and solutions
needed to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to the communities in need all
across the world. This effort is supported by utilizing all seven science components.
1. It will develop scientific knowledge, build infrastructure and foster relationships for a
sustainable and healthy ocean. The two initial regional Programmes: Western Indian Ocean
SEAFoods and the University of the South Pacific’s Tropical Pacific SEAFoods are models
for the world.
2. SEAFoods focuses on critical ocean priorities for Agenda 2030, and can inspire other
scientists across the world. This is particularly true as an example of complete ecosystems
accomplishing CDR when the individual components do not.
3. SEAFoods synthesize existing research and identify knowledge gaps and priorities for future
4. SEAFoods synthesize results into digital twins of each community’s AFEcosystem such that
users will (eventually) drive and pay for the solution they need because the users appreciate
the increased biodiversity and sustained food production.
5. SEAFoods could inspire new joint research and cooperation within and across ocean basins,
already spanning from the Western Indian Ocean to the South Pacific.
6. By making data broadly available, both regional Programmes support science, policy and
societal dialogues. Producing a digital twin with an intuitive interface requires broadly
available data. The digital twin will be easily learned and used by governments, students,
ecosystem operators, and society in general.
7. Close interaction with fishing communities will result in new co-designed research strategies.
5. Ocean Decade Outcomes
Outcome 1: A clean ocean where sources of pollution are identified and reduced or removed.
Consolidated SEAFoods reduces pollution from land by diverting, pasteurizing and recycling
human wastes, plus reducing pollution in the ocean with carefully managed ecosystems that
absorb many pollutants (such as excess nitrogen) as food (as discussed above in Section 3.1).
SEAFoods also removes the excess CO2 from air and water. See Appendix B.
Outcome 2: A healthy and resilient ocean where marine ecosystems are understood, protected,
restored and managed. The managed ecosystem approach is discussed above in Section 3.1
supports a healthy and resilient ocean where marine ecosystems are understood, protected,
restored and managed to optimize both diversity and food production.
Outcome 3: A productive ocean supporting sustainable food supply and a sustainable ocean
economy. Artificial reefs have great potential to support a sustainable food supply and a
sustainable ocean economy, as discussed above in Section 3.1 and below in Section 10.
Outcome 4: A predicted ocean where society understands and can respond to changing ocean
conditions. Constant data fed into a computer model combined with regular communications
with other communities supports responding to changing ocean conditions. The digital twin is
mentioned in Section 3.1 and explained in Appendix C.
Outcome 5: A safe ocean where life and livelihoods are protected from ocean-related hazards.
Fishing on built-reefs closer to shore is less expensive and much less dangerous than fishing on
the high sea. More in Section 3.1.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 17
Outcome 6: An accessible ocean with open and equitable access to data, information and
technology and innovation. Our theory of change and multi-dimensional communications
strategy support an accessible ocean with open and equitable access to data, information and
technology and innovation. More in Section 3.1, Section 10.2, and Appendix C.
Outcome 7: An inspiring and engaging ocean where society understands and values the ocean in
relation to human wellbeing and sustainable development. We need results, “how-to”, and safety
training videos that do not rely on spoken language for effective community networking. Live
videos of animals and harvesting operations on the reefs show where food comes from, how
reefs support a wealth of biodiversity, with sustainable and robust food yields, etc. More in
Section 10.3.
6. Fulfilling Ocean Decade Challenges
Challenge 1: Develop solutions to remove or mitigate pollution Most (but not all) “pollution” is
human urine and feces. Water resource recovery engineers are refining systems to recover
and pasteurize the valuable plant nutrients and energy (carbon) in urine and feces. Any
aquaculture, including purpose-built fishing reefs, is only truly sustainable by returning to the
plant the inorganic nutrients that were extracted from the purpose-built reef as protein, and
other organic nutrients.
Challenge 2: Develop solutions to monitor, protect, manage and restore ecosystems and their
biodiversity under changing environmental, social and climate conditions AFEcosystems
can contribute significantly to restoring pre-industrial CO2 levels. Our productivity is based
on restored ecosystems; thus seafood production operations pay for sensors, analyses, and
actions to maintain biodiversity. For example, some fish species will leave the tropics as
tropical waters become too warm to reproduce. A purpose-built reef ecosystem allows
research, large-scale experiments, and rewilding. (Rewilding is bringing back native species
made rare by humans. Perhaps giant clams near Zanzibar.) That is, many cameras
coordinated with acoustic sensing and occasionally providing cooler water on hot days. As
the number of purpose-built reef systems increases, the seafood production operation would
pay for sensors and actions needed to maintain biodiversity.
Challenge 3: Develop solutions to optimize the role of the ocean in sustainably feeding the
world’s population under changing environmental, social and climate conditions An
additional 100 million tonnes/yr of seafood by 2030, as much as a billion tonnes/yr by 2050,
only limited by human demand.
Challenge 4: Develop solutions for equitable and sustainable development of the ocean
economy under changing environmental, social and climate conditions Any coastal
community, no matter how lacking in existing fishing resources or currently lacking means to
recover their waste resources, can have a purpose-built reef that matches their population
under changing environmental, social and climate conditions.
Challenge 5: Build resilience to the effects of climate change across all geographies and at all
scales, and to improve services including predictions for the ocean, climate and weather
In some cases, the structure is a mangrove forest, giant clams to reinforce coral reefs, or other
kind of living reef. In all cases, the sensors (including temperature, nutrients, acidity, etc.,) on
the living reef input to a computer ecosystem model. The reef operators use the model to
predict if one species’ population will crash or explode based on forecasts of future
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 18
conditions. That is, the reefs build resilience to the effects of climate change. Many purpose-
built reefs each with many sensors will improve predictions.
Challenge 6: Enhance multi-hazard early warning services for all geophysical, ecological,
biological, weather, climate and anthropogenic related ocean and coastal hazards, and
mainstream community preparedness and resilience Many purpose-built reefs each with
many sensors will improve predictions. For example, some reefs could include sensors that
detect seismic or volcanic activity in addition to the geophysical, ecological, biological, and
weather sensors used to optimize long-term productivity with biodiversity.
Challenge 7: Ensure a sustainable ocean observing system across all ocean basins that
delivers accessible, timely, and actionable data and information to all users The data from
every reef could go to the cloud, with all the measurements and units organized for data
mining. As income from seafood production allows, the reef operators will come to rely on
real time data. That data can be made available on the web for school children to view and
listen to activity on their local reefs or distant reefs. The acoustic systems on a reef can detect
and provide an alarm for unauthorized activity in the reef or in nearby marine protected
Challenge 8: Through multi-stakeholder collaboration, develop a comprehensive digital
representation of the ocean, including a dynamic ocean map, which provides free and open
access for exploring, discovering, and visualizing past, current, and future ocean conditions
in a manner relevant to diverse stakeholders Each purpose-built reef with its sensors
provides a highly detailed representation of the ocean near it with a computer ecosystem
model. The model might be viewed similar to the U.S. National Ocean and Atmospheric
Administration’s (NOAA) virtual ecosystem scenario viewer. See Appendix C.
Challenge 9: Ensure comprehensive capacity development and equitable access to data,
information, knowledge and technology across all aspects of ocean science and for all
stakeholders All reef systems will provide transparent public reports. In addition,
philanthropic resources could provide support for online and direct interactions to share
information and insights across all reefs. Philanthropies may also be needed to bring
purpose-built reefs to small communities needing to sustain local food production but lacking
(or not interested in) an export market.
Challenge 10: Ensure that the multiple values and services of the ocean for human wellbeing,
culture, and sustainable development are widely understood, and identify and overcome
barriers to behaviour change required for a step change in humanity’s relationship with the
ocean The internet allows everyone to view the output of sensors on purpose-built fishing
reefs. People will see where their food comes from, when their pasteurized urine and feces
combine with sunlight to produce a wealth of biodiversity, how the non-food flora and fauna
are important to the ecosystem’s sustainable and robust food yields, etc. They will also see
plastic and other trash, or clouds of sediment. They may see or hear people poaching from a
reef or a nearby marine protected area. In short, each reef can be in everyone’s living room or
pocket. Some people may edit the most interesting moments to produce ocean documentaries
and the ocean equivalent of funny cat videos.
7. Achieving Decade Objectives
Built-reef seafood productivity/area depends on the nutrient recycling/area and ecosystem health.
Operators (fishing people) need to track many parameters (temperature, pH, nutrient
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 19
concentrations, disease, species population, individuals’ health, etc.). In addition to instruments
(maintained by the operators) the fishing people will be citizen scientists with smart phones.
Each built-reef operator will use information to foresee changes in species populations (due to
harvesting, heat waves, disease, …). Foreseeing changes means long-term (decades) of seafood
production security. All of the thousands of coastal communities (globally) have reason to share
information and costs of modeling.
Each local community will select a governance arrangement in concert with their funding
agency. Individual governance arrangements might be: local government (a community or
special district); a fishing cooperative; a private company. The individual communities can
collaborate for economy of scale.
1.1 Regularly assess the state of the ocean: An alliance of coastal communities can provide
management software to operators that automatically produces a continuous report on the
state-of-the-ocean near each built reef. The local information can be rolled up into regional
summaries, or provided individually, as desired.
1.2 Promote new technology and access to it: The alliance of coastal communities can set up a
program for several communities to provide resources to one community to try new
technology and conduct experiments of interest to all. Those communities exporting seafood
to developed countries will buy, operate, and maintain general oceanographic and CDR
certifying instruments because the certification will earn a premium price. The certifications
can include lower carbon footprint than any terrestrial meat (including plant-based
“laboratory” meat), increased biodiversity, little or no freshwater use, and high equality-
1.3 Expand ocean observing systems: Each built-reef is an ocean observing platform.
1.4 Support community-led science: Local coastal communities will develop the capabilities to
design, build, operate, and maintain their new reef ecosystems. They might retain outside
consultants, materials, and construction equipment initially. All the knowledge (local,
indigenous, and contemporary) for each built-reef will be compiled and shared. Each built-
reef is likely to be unique.
1.5 Overcome barriers to diversity and promote investment: The value of seafood is such
that each seafood reef should generate the income needed to pay back construction loans
while increasing the quality of life in the community. The funding agencies can incentivize
2.1 Comprehensive understanding of ocean-land-atmosphere-cryosphere-people: During
design, construction, operation, and maintenance each built-reef provides big data to
understand the ocean and interactions of ocean-land-atmosphere-cryosphere-people. The
global demand for built-reef seafood by 2050 might be near 500 million tonnes/year
implying 50,000 to 500,000 built-reefs supplying big data.
2.2 Understanding thresholds and tipping points: Every built-reef is an instrumented
experiment requiring operators to detect and communicate thresholds and tipping points.
Threshold and tipping point detection is critical to sustaining seafood production and
biodiversity on each built-reef.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 20
2.3 Use historical knowledge to support SDGs: Yes! Use indigenous, historical and pre-
historic knowledge while restoring the density of species that were over-fished to near-
extinction locally, such as giant clams in the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans, conch in the
Caribbean, etc.
2.4 Improve ocean models: Every built-reef needs a three dimensional model including
oceanographic data, nutrient flows, multiple species (from as small as microbes to as large as
whales) populations, and human actions.
2.5 Improve predictions: Collecting big data allows artificial intelligence mining the data to
find correlations and improve predictions, which will benefit local adaptation, productivity,
and economics.
2.6 Expand ocean-related collaboration: Local communities with similar oceanographic
conditions and species can improve their productivity by sharing research and training
3.1 Communicate the role of ocean science for sustainable development: This programme
promises to reach local fishing people, particularly those with indigenous knowledge. Built-
reefs will be successful when the local fishing people have adjusted the design to conform to
their fishing and cultural norms. Without such adjustment, failures (population crashes,
reduced biodiversity) become likely.
3.2 Open access connecting knowledge generators and users: The goal would be an Alliance
of local communities to maintain a wiki that is accessible globally. The wiki would contain
and organize all the information and data from every built-reef and the associated nutrient
collection and seafood distribution systems.
3.3 Multi-stakeholder co-design and co-delivery: The complexity of built-reef ecosystems
requires interdisciplinary multi-stakeholder collaboration.
3.4 Spatial planning for sustainable development across regions: Built-reefs can be
positioned with spatial planning across regions and scales. Note that some communities will
produce only local seafood (no exporting). Some areas will produce less expensive yet higher
quality seafood for local consumption and export. Regional and global spatial planning can
help prevent conflicts (trade wars, monopolies) as supply eventually exceeds demand.
3.5 Management to maintain ecosystems and adapt within community values and needs:
The built-reef ecosystem includes habitat and substrate such that the vast majority of species
volunteer. Relatively few species might be farmed or stocked such as: oysters, giant clams,
and conch.
3.6 Prepared for multiple stressors and hazards: Maintaining seafood production requires
tools for preparing and adapting to stressors and hazards.
3.7 Expand tools that integrate knowledge of ocean-related capital: Each reef is likely to
have passive acoustic sensors. Acoustic data can help track the location and quantity of
species, the movements of people and larger animals, and the actions of people and larger
animals. These movements and actions can be tracked in nearby boat channels and marine
protected areas. The acoustic data might be matched with people’s locations and purchases.
8. Achieving Sustainable Development Goals
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 21
SDG #1. No Poverty: Ocean farming reefs are truly sustainable environmental community
enterprises that create jobs especially for underserved communities. The jobs range from reef
construction and maintenance to planting, nutrient collection and distribution, seafood
harvesting, and seafood processing and marketing.
SDG #2. Zero Hunger: Ocean farming rapidly grows a variety of sustainable and protein-rich
food sources. Seaweed (the primary productivity and dissolved oxygen source, not an
important crop) requires neither fresh water, pesticides nor land input to grow. The primary
crops are high-protein free-range finfish, shellfish such as mussels, oysters, clams, etc., as well
as invertebrates, including profitable sea cucumbers and sponges. An alliance of reef operators
can employ concepts in Harnessing global fisheries to tackle micronutrient deficiencies
(Hicks et al 2019) to provide the most needed micronutrients locally and to share
micronutrients among globally dispersed communities.
SDG #3. Good Health and Well Being: Fish and shellfish provide the healthiest source of protein,
complete with micronutrients often lacking in terrestrial crops from depleted soils. In addition,
seaweed (and creatures on its food chain) contains high amounts of iodine, potassium,
magnesium, calcium and iron, as well as vitamins, antioxidants, phytonutrients, amino acids,
omega-3 fats and fiber.
SDG #5. Gender Equality: Ocean farming enterprises can focus on training and advancing
women as an economic development tool that serves the immediate family and ripples out to
the community and nation. There are women-run co-operatives farming seaweed and adding
value to the harvest. A built reef ecosystem would be a step up to higher income for existing
seaweed (or fishing) co-operatives.
SDG #6. Clean Water and Sanitation: Coastal communities will come to value recovering the
carbon and nutrients that had, in concentrated form, spread disease and overwhelmed local
ecosystems. The productivity of built reef ecosystems depends on building human and animal
waste collection systems that will pasteurize wastes and use them to fertilize seaweed forests.
Replacing 100 million tonnes/yr of the current about 300 million tonnes/yr of meat production
with 100 million tonnes of seafood, saves about 600 million acre-feet/yr of freshwater (800
km3/yr, 30,000 m3/sec). For perspective, the average flow of the Mississippi River is about
20,000 m3/sec.
SDG #8. Decent Work and Economic Growth: A permanent built reef ecosystem provides
permanent quality jobs in ocean forestry. “Ocean forestry” is a more accurate term than
“farming” because the reefs avoid mono- or duo-cultures. The reefs produce diverse income
streams including: finfish, shellfish, crabs, snails, sea cucumbers, urchins, lobster. Managing
the many product species and the ecosystem support species is like forestry that includes flora
and fauna. (Seaweed harvests should be limited because of its low value and to avoid putting
seaweed farmers out of business.) The quantity of jobs is only limited by the availability of
suitable ocean area and recyclable nutrients. That means reefs could be built to provide
permanent jobs for and recycle the nutrients from refugees and migrants.
SDG #10. Reduced Inequalities: A built reef ecosystem is a “new industry” for each community.
As a new industry, the first built reefs lack an entrenched hierarchy of inequalities. The funding
agencies can insist the new organizations structure for merit-based promotions and equal
opportunity. The income from reef operations can fund education for everyone (online classes
to improve one’s certification level). Each reef has a wide range of manual, shop, and desk
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 22
jobs from lifting nets full of fish, to maintaining sensors and communications, to maintaining
the reef structure, to maintaining the fishing equipment, to processing the catch, to using the
computer model when identifying how much of each species to catch that week.
SDG #11. Sustainable Cities and Communities: Cities and communities move toward
sustainability when their food supply completes the nutrient cycle.
SDG #13. Climate Action: Built reef ecosystem seafood (aka AFEcosystems) can accomplish
carbon dioxide removal (CDR) and scale to meet global high-protein food demand in 2050
even to displacing all meat and current seafood production. Any decrease in meat production
would free-up land that is currently producing meat or grain for meat for other uses: grain for
people, biomass-for-energy, permanent carbon-sequestering forests (or at least an end to
deforestation). People whose livelihood depend on deforestation could become ocean foresters.
Mass weighted average meat GHG impact is about 17 tonnes of CO2eq per tonne of meat
(Ritchie & Roser 2019; Poore & Nemecek 2018). Seafood GHG impact is about three tonnes
of CO2eq per tonne of seafood (including both wild-caught and aquaculture) (MacLeod et al.
2020; Parker et al. 2018). A business-as-usual increase in both meat and seafood production
would mean 13 billion tonnes of CO2eq. Continuing 2018 meat and seafood production levels
and adding a half billion tonnes of built reef seafood would total eight billion tonnes of CO2eq,
a savings of five billion tonnes of CO2eq. Although the macroalgae could be harvested for
energy production, that is not within the SEAFoods Programme.
See Appendix B for an explanation of the several climate mitigations and the CDR.
SDG #14. Life Below Water: Rebuilding marine life (Duarte et al. 2020) suggests that,
“Rebuilding fish stocks can be supported by market-based instruments, such as …the growth
of truly sustainable aquaculture to reduce pressure on wild stocks.” This program can move
beyond truly sustainable aquaculture to the aquatic version of rewilding. Rewilding is returning
species to areas where humans caused their extinction: wolves, grizzlies, bison, and beaver to
the U.S.; bison to Europe. Aquatic rewilding could include giant clams, seagrass, dugongs, sea
turtles, clams, oysters, etc. restored over their pre-human range at their pre-human density.
Ocean waters around seaweed ecosystems have measurably lower acidity, which helps
crustaceans and sea life of all kinds. In fact, submerged plants can facilitate the formation of
calcium carbonate minerals, which are transported down current, buffering pH wherever they
go (Su et al., 2020). Ocean reef ecosystem operators should manage to increase biodiversity
because doing so should offer the most long-term and robust seafood production. Good
management requires a calibrated computer model of nutrient flows, species populations, the
effect of species populations on other species, the effects of changing temperature and ocean
chemistry on species populations, etc. The model needs to cover a range of species sizes from
virus to whale. (These points require substantial science.)
Scaling built-reef ecosystems allows more marine protected areas. 200,000 to 300,000 km2 of
floating flexible reef structures with total ecosystem aquaculture could produce a billion
tonnes of seafood per year. A billion tonnes is 5 times current seafood production. Including
space between reef structures to avoid overlapping mooring lines, they might occupy 1.5
million km2 of continental shelf with seafloor depth less than 200 meters. That is about 13%
of the 11 million km2 of 0 to 200-m deep continental shelf that Gentry et al. (2017) found
potentially suitable for fish and shellfish aquaculture. If all the non-indigenous ocean fishing
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 23
and aquaculture were on floating flexible reef ecosystems, the entire deep ocean (deeper than
about 200-m) and 87% of continental shelves (less than 200-m seafloor depth) could become
marine protected areas or reserved for indigenous fishing.
Built reef ecosystems will diversify monitoring and maintenance funding for marine protected
areas. The coastal community fishes the built reef for food and income. Most built-reefs will
have acoustic sensing systems to detect poachers and monitor fish populations. The sensors
on the built-reefs can detect poachers in nearby marine protected areas. When economic
recessions or pandemics drop tourist income, the local community can survive on the built reef
and still detect unauthorized activities in the marine protected areas.
SDG #15. Life on Land: The demand for meat, grain, and terrestrial plant biofuel is driving
deforestation and overdrawing aquifers. Built reef ecosystem seafood can scale to meet global
high-protein food demand in 2050 even to replacing all meat and current seafood production.
Replacing 100 million tonnes/yr of the current about 300 million tonnes/yr of meat production
with 100 million tonnes of seafood, saves about 600 million acre-feet/yr of freshwater (800
km3/yr, 30,000 m3/sec). For perspective, the average flow of the Mississippi River is about
20,000 m3/sec.
Other SDGs: While directly addressing the above eleven SDGs, ocean forests indirectly support
the other five Goals by creating sound economic and social foundations so that everyone can
participate in and gain from (4) Quality Education, (7) Affordable and Clean Energy, (9)
Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, (12) Responsible Consumption and Production, (16)
Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, and (17) Partnerships for the Goals.
9. Contributing to Decade Criteria
The Consolidated SEAFoods Programme contributes to all Decade criteria as summarized
Re: “Accelerate the generation or use of knowledge and understanding of the ocean, with a
specific focus on knowledge that will contribute to the achievement of the SDGs and
complementary policy frameworks and initiatives.” And “Is co-designed or co-delivered by
knowledge generators and users, and does it facilitate the uptake of science and ocean
knowledge for policy, decision making, management and/or innovation.
Consolidated SEAFoods provides data management, communications, networking for local
coastal communities, their regional Lead Institutions, and researchers.
Re: “Will provide all data and resulting knowledge in an open access, shared, discoverable
manner and appropriately deposited in recognized data repositories consistent with the
IOC Oceanographic Data Exchange Policy or the relevant UN subordinate body data
See Appendix C for an explanation of the digital twin with intuitive interface. Data Management
is part of the Communications Plan and attaches in #40 a Communications and Data
Management Plan. Data Management consistent with the IOC Oceanographic Data Exchange
Policy is sketched in the Plan.
Re: Strengthen existing or create new partnerships across nations and/or between diverse
ocean actors, including users of ocean science.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 24
Features in the Communications and Data Management Plan will strengthen existing and create
new partnerships as communities imitate each other’s successes.
Many coastal communities will have somewhat similar key primary production species in their
ecosystems. For example, giant clams are native on the coasts of Madagascar, East Africa, Red
Sea, Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal, Indonesia, Gulf of Thailand, North Australia, Philippines, and
the Western Tropical Pacific. Kelp forests are found globally in temperate climates and cool
ocean currents off every continent and island except Antarctica and the Arctic Ocean.
But partnerships are not limited to areas of similar ecology. Concepts for research, business,
education, marketing, etc. will be shared even into and from terrestrial agriculture.
Re: Contribute toward capacity development, including, but not limited to, beneficiaries in
Small Island Developing States, Least Developed Countries and Land-locked Developing
Consolidated SEAFoods creates permanent jobs by helping coastal fishing communities learn
from each other while sharing common activities such as developing a computer model for each
ecosystem, marketing, data management, etc.
Re: Overcome barriers to diversity and equity, including gender, generational, and
geographic diversity. Collaborate with and engage local and indigenous knowledge holders.
The Communications and Data Management Plan has two barrier hurdling concepts,
Ombudspersons and Benchmarking, built into the community-to-community networking.
Benchmarking allows communities to compare themselves on diversity and equity, including
gender, generational, and geographic diversity with others. Funders can compare communities.
Ombudspersons ensure the reports are real.
Engaging local and indigenous knowledge holders is key to sustained increased seafood
production with healthy happy communities.
10. Knowledge uptake, data sharing, partnerships, capacity development, diversity, local
and indigenous knowledge
The local coastal community and its indigenous knowledge holders should design and operate
their built reef ecosystem to suit local the local natural ecosystem, their ways of fishing, and their
preferences for organizing. The only intrusion should be an understanding that funding depends
on equalizing opportunities for everyone in the community. The local community must become
“invested” in adapting the science to fit their resources. When communities are involved in the
planning, they find ways to make the development successful. Development that is not planned
by the community can be detrimental. See Saini, A. and Singh S.J., “The Aid Tsunami
(Scientific American April 2020) for an example of adverse “help.”
Scientists and engineers mentoring and coaching the local organizations will strive to leave the
local reef-operating organizations with the skills to add more reefs independent of the initial
scientists and engineers.
Likewise, scientists conducting research on built reef ecosystems will strive to leave the local
organization with the skills to continue and expand research topics independently. Scientists
might: (1) purchase data that the local organization gathers for its purposes; (2) pay for
maintenance services, power, and communication connections on additional sensors; (3) work
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 25
with the community to conduct research without affecting seafood production; (4) coordinate
research with yield-enhancing experiments conducted by the local operator (submerge to cool,
changing details of recycled nutrient distribution, and the like); and (5) offer to pay for difference
in profit losses between the experiment reefs and the control reefs.
Resource providers (funding and in-kind) should find a funding mechanism that: (1) leaves the
local community owning the built reef outright within 15 years; (2) does not saddle the local
community with debt, should revenue minus expense be inadequate to repay; (3) collects more
than the initial funding where revenue minus expense allows. Particularly in least developed
countries, the lack of product transportation infrastructure may limit export revenue. The lack of
export revenue may hamper purchasing some of the materials needed to maintain the structures.
11. Lead Institution, Tasks, and Support Services (Partners)
Lead Institution: OceanForesters and/or others
Lead Institution Type: California Benefit Corporation
Lead institution physical address: 2436 E. Thompson Blvd. Ventura, California 93003 USA
Contact person: Mark E. Capron, President
Contact details:
As a California Benefit Corporation, OceanForesters prioritizes restoring pre-industrial
atmospheric CO2eq levels while achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals well above
profits. OceanForesters expects to work on many smaller public benefits that are steps toward or
sub-objectives of this primary objective, including funding, coaching, mentoring, consulting,
networking, and supporting local coastal communities to design, build, and operate permanent
built-reef ecosystems they desire, consistent with the requirements of the funder. The
communities select from a wide menu of options ranging from marine protected areas to Aquatic
Foods Ecosystems to penned finfish aquaculture, and combinations thereof. The communities are
networked with each other and researchers. The communities imitate and adapt each other’s
ecosystems (and computer models) to improve sustainability. (Aquatic Foods Ecosystems
employ and feed people while stepping toward the comprehensive purpose.)
Tasks are suggested in the Ocean Decade Challenges Addressed, Achieving Decade Objectives,
and Achieving Sustainable Development Goals. The scope of this effort is such that several
Partners may be needed for each task. Except for data management, different regions and
different communities can take different approaches to each task. Only funded tasks will be
Global support service providers would focus on providing Tasks in 11.1, 11.2, and 11.4 so that
coastal communities (and their regions) could focus on Tasks in 11.3. Once through the learning
curve, income from seafood production can pay to continue and refine each task. Each task
contributes to centuries of robust sustainable equitable seafood production, justifying the coastal
communities’ continued investment in each task.
11.1 Data management and developing digital twins Physical science, financial/business,
social, safety, and other kinds of data will be collected and archived in a way that allows
everyone (globally) to access, download, and research the data. The data will be used to develop
a computer model (digital twin) with an intuitive interface for each community’s AFEcosystem.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 26
11.2 Program Management with amplified networking Program management involves
organizing the tasks common to most Projects to support the communities and researchers.
Supporting Projects via amplified networking can include:
Transparent suggestion box and suggestion evaluation system Generate and spread
innovations by rewarding innovators who share their innovations with other communities
and reward communities for adopting innovations. The suggestion box is a continuous
crowdsourcing operation. It might include aspects of the Technology Approval Group
and the Water Research Foundation-Water Environment Federation’s Leaders Innovation
Forum for Technology. Both operate in the water resources recovery community and are
directly useful for sanitation with resource recovery. Their networking techniques can be
applied to the SEAFoods lifeboat ecosystems.
Ombudspersons with a physical presence in every coastal community and at least a
virtual presence in every research community Ombudspersons should be convenient for
to everyone in the community and research teams for rapidly correcting corruption, abuse
of power, unsafe practices, inequalities, etc.
Product-market coordination Best practice food-safety certification and branding
free-range products of SEAFoods ecosystems For example, suppose a dozen coastal
communities are occasionally harvesting lobster. The local communities could coordinate
to match local weekly supply with global weekly demand and their individual situation.
Coordinated tool testing Groups of communities or researchers interested in trying a
new tool (innovation, fish trap, no-take reservoir, sensor, software, etc.) fund and oversee
testing of a new tool by one coastal community and/or researcher.
Benchmarking Coastal communities and researchers should be able to compare their
performance with other communities and researchers. Comparison areas should include
occupational safety, product safety, productivity and biodiversity (aka ocean health) per
area, change in productivity and biodiversity per area (over a year, year-to-year, decade-
to-decade), expense and income per tonne of product, financial transparency,
gender/disabled/tribe/income origin equity, sustainability, etc.
Connectivity hardware and software Many communities need better links to the
worldwide web and associated devices (smart phones, tablets, computers). Ideally, every
fishing person or boat will have a smart phone to reference for at least weekly updates on
timing and positioning nutrient recycling, what fish what size/condition of that fish to
harvest (or put back), what sensors need what maintenance, situations to report, etc.
Education Develop and disseminate digital tools (digital twins, videos, games, virtual
ecosystem scenario viewers, real-time remote viewing and listening) for everyone to see
and understand where their seafood is growing. Build an Oceanwiki with all the
information and data from every built-reef and the associated nutrient collection and
seafood distribution system.
11.3 Process and Technology These tasks support centuries of robust sustainable equitable
seafood production at the community and researcher level:
Operating fisheries ecosystems with integrated research.
Conducting research in built-reef ecosystems with more benefit than harm to fishery
income and the ecosystem.
Designing fisheries ecosystems, which include: no-take reserves with managed fishing
outside the reserve; seaweed farming; long-line shellfish and seaweed farming;
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 27
SEAFoods built-reef ecosystems; regional and global spatial planning for no-take zones
and activities outside the no-take reserves; etc.
Training and/or behavior modification for operating the fisheries ecosystem.
Organizing the community and research effort to suit the community’s culture.
Organizing can be as simple as changing behaviors to respect a no-take reserve. The reef
ecosystem operator might be a fishers’ cooperative, a local government, a private
company with employees, or other.
Designing and installing safe sanitation which mitigates nutrient pollution with resource
Designing and manufacturing equipment hardware and software: sensors, computer
model of the ecosystem; substrate supporting structures and materials.
Installing, using, maintaining, and teaching people how to use the hardware and software.
Developing and calibrating computer models of each ecosystem with associated multi-
hazard early warning (months in advance), ocean observing, and linking to form a
comprehensive digital representation of the ocean.
11.4 Marketing Systems Communities will benchmark for local high-quality safe food to
ensure local health and well-being. Product-market coordination will ensure they are eligible for
top prices on the international market.
OceanForesters will consider the whole value-chain Growing, harvesting, moving
products to end consumers, government facilitating (public-private arrangements,
permits, regulations), etc.
International food-safety certification and marketing agencies and companies will help
local communities appropriately brand free-range products of SEAFoods ecosystems for
maximum long-range profitability.
Networking can facilitate steady availability of products.
11.5 Partners and Support Service Providers
Note: All these individuals and organizations want to support the SEAFoods programme. Only
some of them will actually be funded to work with its implementation, while others will be active
with the Regional SEAFoods Programmes and individual projects.
Networked Global Support Services (Agencies and Individuals)
As the organizing and Lead Institution, OceanForesters will fill any gaps, once funded to do so.
These can include:
Managing and curating the science data such that their data is accessible only by those each
community allows and is standardized for scientific analysis and as input to the digital twins.
Producing and continuously updating the digital twins. Setting up hardware and software in
each community for transmitting science data and general virtual networking.
Secure, incorruptible finance, accounting, and banking services with project management in
support of funding agencies, communities, and regions.
Overall organizing and science-technologies-business capacity development for communities
interested in AFEcosystems managed with a digital twin. Contact: Mark E. Capron,
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 28
Professional Engineer (P.E.), 2436 E. Thompson Blvd. Ventura CA 93003-2730, Cell: 805-
760-1967, Additional team members include: Jim R.
Stewart PhD, Mohammed A. Hasan P.E., Don Piper, Graham Harris, Martin Sherman, and
Jill Santos. OceanForesters, a California Benefit Corporation, is a private sector stakeholder
with the mission of coaching, mentoring, consulting, and supporting local coastal
communities to design, build, and operate the permanent AFEcosystems. They have a deep-
water design developed with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, modeled to
withstand a direct hit from a Category 5 cyclone (Lucas et al. 2019b). OceanForesters will
provide marine ecosystem, water resources recovery, marine structures, business, project
management, and other expertise.
Vincent Doumeizel, Director-Food Programme, Lloyd's Register Foundation,, 71 Fenchruch Street, London, EC3M 4BS, United Kingdom.
Lloyd’s Register Foundation has identified seven pressing challenges within their mission to
protect the safety of life and property. Two challenges are particularly important for an Ocean
Decade Nutrient Recycling Seafood-Science Programme: safety at sea and safety of food.
SANERGY,, Sameer Africa, Enterprise Road, Nairobi, Kenya, Call: +254 788
511 824. Provides urine-diverting toilets and operating system that converts human and organic
wastes into organic fertilizer and insect-based fish and animal feed.
Tom Wildman,, Senior Program Manager for Sanitation at Water
for People, 100 E. Tennessee Ave, Denver, Colorado 80209 USA. Tom manages the Shitovation
Fund, which helps local public health officers and entrepreneurs innovate new ways to fix gaps
in sanitation systems.
Engineers Without Borders USA, 1031 33rd Street, Suite 210, Denver, CO 80205, Call: 303-
772-2723, and EWB leverages a skilled
network of nearly 10,000 engineer members to work with communities around the world on
various engineering projects. Within EWB-USA is the Engineering Service Corps, which
partners with outside agencies, foundations and other implementing partners to deliver
consulting services that utilize our most seasoned engineers. These engineers have both the
engineering background but also the cultural experience, which is critical in the humanitarian
sector. The Engineering Service Corps roster represents engineering disciplines ranging from
water resources (including sanitation and water resource recovery) to civil and structural experts
along with agriculture and energy experts. They will provide high quality, low cost engineering
Bradley Kennedy,, Rich Earth Institute, 355 Old Ferry Road,
Brattleboro, Vermont 05301, USA. Rich Earth Institute research suggests that collecting,
pasteurizing, and using urine as a fertilizer in the United States can be cost competitive with
conventional systems for removing nutrients from wastewater, while using less energy than
synthetic fertilizer production.
Eliza Parish, Development Director, SOIL,, Route National #3, A cote
Distillerie Larue S.A., Quartier Moren, Cap-Haïtien, HAITI +509 2260 2888 SOIL is providing
safely managed sanitation service using waterless, container-based toilets and transformative
waste treatment into agriculture grade compost in urban and peri-urban communities in Haiti.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 29
Container-based toilets provide a safe sanitation option for vulnerable coastal communities in
that 1) they prevent environmental contamination into aquatic ecosystems due to lack of
sanitation access or unsafe sanitation practices 2) prevent the spread of waterborne disease 3)
require no water in water-scarce communities and 4) are suitable in areas with high water tables
and/or frequent flooding where pit latrines or other options pose an environmental risk.
Dr. Mohammad Badran is an active independent researcher with diverse knowledge of Red Sea
Environmental management and Professor Mohammad al Zibdah is a manager of an
experimental aquaculture unit for the University of Jordan in Aqaba. Their interest is in tackling
challenges of nutrient recycling while protecting the coastal environment and enhancing
biological productivity of the (oligotrophic) ecosystems near and in the nutrient-sensitive coral
lifeboat ecosystem habitats in the Gulf of Aqaba and wider Red Sea.
Dr Imran Ahmed Khan, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University of Karachi,
Karachi 75270, Pakistan, Dr. Khan analyzes remote sensing data to
produce Spatial pattern, Monthly, Seasonally, annually and inter-annually trends of SST and
Time series statistical model monthly assessment with 4 km spatial resolution. The model will be
fitted to the observed data that describes the annual SST pattern with near future (monthly)
Anthony Johnson Akpan, President, Pan African Vision for the Environment (PAVE),
WANGONET 7, Raymond Street, Sabo, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria,, PAVE
offers: (1) insights for implementing safe convenient sanitation with energy/food and nutrient
resource recovery, particularly in Africa; and (2) Organizing the African Ocean Literacy Civil
Society Action Network to address Ocean Decade Challenge 10, Objectives 3 and 3.1. (2) is a
proposed large-scale marine environmental education Programme. PAVE deals with human
settlement issues including Agricultural Value Chain promotion, Gender, Disaster Risk
Reduction (DRR), Climate change and Clean Energy promotion, Waste Management including
E-Waste, plastic, and Chemical Management, and Stakeholder Engagement.
Dr. Kevin Hopkins,, (808) 937-8310, Professor of Aquaculture at the
University of Hawaii, 200 W. Kāwili St., Hilo, HI 96720-4091, teaches aquaculture engineering,
fisheries science, and water quality analysis. His research interests include business aspects of
aquaculture and the application of fisheries and ecological models. He has been the primary
organizer of the international Marine Agronomy Group.
Dr. Reginald Blaylock is the Assistant Director of the Thad Cochran Marine Aquaculture Center,
University of Southern Mississippi, 703 East Beach Dr., Ocean Springs, MS 39564, Phone: 228-
818-8003, Center research focuses on building partnerships with
industry, government, and non-profit organizations to address the zootechnical, environmental,
regulatory, structural, and logistical bottlenecks constraining the sustainable production of
marine organisms. Specific programs address molecular and mathematical aspects of aquatic
health, development of selective breeding programs, management of genetics impacts of
aquaculture, development of captive spawning protocols, maximizing the environmental and
economic sustainability of production systems ranging from closed, land-based recirculating
systems to offshore systems, and optimization of procedures for large-scale production of marine
algae, finfish, crustaceans, and mollusks.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 30
Dr. Charles Yarish,, Professor Emeritus, Department of Ecology and
Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut, 1 University Place, Stamford, Connecticut,
06901, USA. Dr. has many distinctions and awards for his work involving the ecology, systematics
and phytogeography of economically important marine macroalgae and marine angiosperms,
including studies on eutrophication, primary productivity, nutrient relationships, autecology,
physiology and invasive species. He is particularly interested in the aquaculture of marine plants
and the development of new technologies for the nutrient removal from aquaculture systems
(IMTA) and nutrient bioextraction.
Dr. Kurt Rosentrater,, 515-294-4019, is an Associate Professor at Iowa
State University, 3327 Elings, 605 Bissell Rd. Ames, IA 50011-1098 USA. He teaches courses
in food and process engineering as well as economic and environmental assessment. His research
program uses life cycle assessment and techno-economic analysis for a variety of bio-based
systems and processes. He will provide techno-economic analysis support.
Dr. Ali Fuat Canbolat, Associated Professor in Hacettepe University, Chairman of the Board,
Ecological Research Society (EKAD), Mustafa Kemal Mahallesi 2119. Cadde, No: 9/21
Çankaya/ANKARA, Turkey, EKAD organizes many academics
coaching volunteers in maintaining biodiversity while conserving ecosystems mostly in the
Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Dr. Canbolat and many EKAD projects spread understanding and
conservation of sea turtles.
Dr. Ant Türkmen, researcher, Mustafa Kemal Mh. 2128sk. 4/11 Ankara-
Turkey,, is developing projects about improving data literacy around
ocean-based transformative technologies and jobs of the future with Italian National Institute of
Oceanography and Applied Geophysics (OGS) and University of Trieste. He is one of the
founder members of the Ecological Research Society leading projects on marine protected areas
and ecosystem-based management of fisheries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. He is also a
member of EU-COST Action “Unifying Approaches to Marine Connectivity for improved
Resource Management for the Seas” (SEA-UNICORN, CA 19107) work groups and a thematic
expert for Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO.
Dr. Carla Palma, is the Head Division of Marine Chemistry and
Pollution at the Portuguese Hydrographic Institute (IHPT), Rua das Trinas 49, 1249-093 Lisboa,
Portugal. She leads a team of marine geochemists whose main focus is the study of the marine
environment (inorganic nutrient flows, toxics, pH, etc.) IHPT is Portugal’s primary hydrographic
survey resource, an agency of the Portuguese Navy working closely with Ministers of Education,
Science, Agriculture, Sea, Environment, and Spatial Planning. Most international projects are in
countries of Portuguese official language, particularly those located in the African continent,
such as Cabo Verde, Guinea-Bissau and Angola.
Dr. Jeannette Yen,, Director, Center of Biologically Inspired
Design, Georgia Institute of Technology, North Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30332, USA. Dr. Yen
teaches people how to design systems inspired by nature. As one example, people are designing
air bubble systems to contain and herd fish. People learned to use air bubbles by watching
humpback whales using air bubbles to trap their prey.
Mr. Gaspard Durieux, works as an expert in oceanographic
metadata management for the Italian National Research CNR-ISMAR department on PNRA
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 31
Antarctic database and contributes to build standards and make data available for investigation of
ocean/atmosphere, contaminant fluxes and biodiversity dynamics modeling. Gaspard is a
specialist in water sciences, engaged in a multidisciplinary network aiming to build innovative
technical and social solutions to the climate challenges. Gaspard has experience in the fields of
political and social science and developed an expertise in project management, network
coordination and social innovation. He collaborates as a mentor with the networks Climate KIC,
Impact Hub, and Water Innovation Lab to translate research ideas into impactful and scalable an international consultant. Participating in the Ocean Decade represents for him the
opportunity to integrate his skills and passion into a major collective work.
Jessie Turner, Cascadia Law Group (, 606 Columbia St. NW, Suite
212 Olympia, WA 98501 USA. Through her role at Cascadia Law Group, Jessie is the
Secretariat for the International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification, helping to set its
strategic direction, develop annual programming, establish partnerships across a wide variety of
disciplines and coalitions, and support governments and affiliate members in the development of
practicable and implementable adaptation and resiliency strategies to the threat of climate-related
changing ocean conditions, including ocean acidification.
Dr. Laura Jean Palmer-Moloney, Visual Teaching Technologies,, 5002 Midyette Ave, Morehead City, NC 28557 USA
Community education/training and documentation to educate/train the in-team community and
successive next communities, and for networking blue economy SEAFoods communities.
Develop strategy and implementation plan for “interpretive communication” connecting the
ocean-based science, research scientists, and the citizen scientists developing the Lifeboat with
the fishing community, regulators, and other stakeholders, including elected officials, as well as
leaders in business, education, religious, news, and environment. Palmer-Moloney and the VTT
team will also assist other Global Support Services mentioned in the Communications and Data
Management Plan (Paragraph 11.2 above).
Nikia Solutions LLC, Phil Santoni, 2202 N. West Shore Blvd., Tampa, FL 33607., designs and installs the digital hub systems used for Nikia’s African
Digital Hub Initiative. These intranet systems provide access to digital cloud solutions with
affordable service models that support rapid deployment, free local access, & long term
successful communications, training and support everywhere (even where there is no internet
Stingray Sensing, Rae Fuhrman,, (310) 463 5601, 7642 Newport
Drive, Goleta CA 93117, heads a restorative aquaculture consulting firm and tech start-up based
in Goleta, California. By developing responsible oceanographic monitoring requirements along
with the equipment to achieve real-time monitoring of regenerative marine farms, large-scale
cultivation of beneficial and harvestable ecosystems becomes possible.
Alliance BioConversions Company (ABCC),; Dana L. Stewart, 13450-76 Highway 8 Business; Lakeside, CA 92040 (619) 328-1707.
ABCC has researched, developed, and demonstrated its products and systems in the field, since
1990. ABCC’s unique fresh, brine, and saltwater polyculture fisheries solutions include land-
based organic fish and crop farming. Also, the Oceans Harvest and EcoSeafood reef-building
habitats and mollusk nurseries are suitable from resorts to ports. This is a critical system for
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 32
restoring marine biodiversity and grow-out with less pollution, costs, reef damage, and bycatch.
It can be used most everywhere. ABCC’s organic hydroponic and aquaponic closed systems;
enhanced with ABCC’s microbial and enzymic products, support both closed and open systems.
Land-based fish and shellfish farms (hatcheries and grow-out ponds) using ABCC products and
systems show increased high-density production, less disease, less hatchling mortality, and ponds
never needing to be drained and cleaned. This also prevents pollution and disease from affecting
wild stock.
AquaDam, 121 Main St., Scotia, CA, Mathew Wennerholm,, (707)-764-
5099 manufactures water-filled tubes that can be as large as 3 meters high. The tubes can be used
in ocean structures, for movable on-land aquaculture or hatchery ponds, and as levees to contain
Chris Webb, CEO of AI Control Technologies,, (415) 867-5163, 121
North State Street, Third Floor, Suite 500, Jackson, MS 39201, USA. AiCT makes remote and
precise buoyancy control electronics and AI software for aquaculture. Precise buoyancy control
allows submerging to avoid parasites, avoid storms (less damage to crop or structure), and avoid
impeding endangered species. Also, lobster (and other) traps could be deployed and retrieved
electronically under a flexible floating fishing lifeboat ecosystem without having to pass through
the lifeboat ecosystem.
Networked Regional Support Services
WorldFish is an international, non-profit research and innovation organization reducing hunger,
malnutrition and poverty across dozens of communities in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. They
champion aquatic foods for healthy people and planet and believe that a sustainable blue planet
of well-nourished children, women and men is within our reach.
WorldFish has several funding-ready projects for its region, including an Aquatic Foods
Ecosystem (AFEcosystem) with Climate Mitigations at the WorldFish Research Facility,
Nusatupe, Ghizo Island, Solomon Islands.
WorldFish is a “research for development” agency headquartered in Penang, Malaysia, and
operating regional offices in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Egypt, Myanmar, Solomon Islands and
Zambia. With 45 years of experience developing, testing, and scaling groundbreaking science
within aquatic food systems, WorldFish works to transform aquatic food systems in
developing countries to support a healthier planet for healthier people. WorldFish works with
dozens of partners across more than 10 countries of operation, its expertise within aquatic
food systems spans areas from genetics and climate change to nutrition and gender equality.
Our people are excited to work on feeding the world seafood with a negative-carbon
Faridah Ibrahim, Business Development Lead, will coordinate with funders to ensure
effective use of monies. Jalan Batu Maung, Batu Maung, 11960 Bayan Lepas, Penang,
Malaysia, Tel: (+60-4) 628 6888 Email: Ms. Ibrahim’s office is
the initial point of contact for any of WorldFish’s executives and researchers.
The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) member countries and communities are partners
for the Tropical Pacific Region providing accounting and project management for every
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 33
community in its 12 member countries (perhaps 100 coastal communities). USP has a funding-
ready project for its region: Laucala Bay AFEcosystem Training and Research Center. The
Center will grow to a self-supporting restoration of Laucala Bay.
USP: Dr. Rajesh Prasad, School of Marine Studies, The University of the South Pacific,
Laucala Campus, Suva, Fiji; Office Phone: 32 32952, Mobile Phone: 970 7749, International
Calls: Fiji Country code (+679); Email: Dr. Prasad is coordinator of
the Aquaculture Program at USP. He and his colleagues are scientists with the mission of
helping South Pacific people address food security and climate issues. Their Research and
Training Project in Laucala Bay, Fiji would involve students, early career ocean
professionals, local and indigenous knowledge holders, and local coastal communities from
the twelve USP member countries and other island nations.
USP: Dr. Antoine N’Yeurt, Pacific Centre for Environment & Sustainable Development
(PaCE-SD), Office of the Vice-Chancellor | The University of the South Pacific, Private Mail
Bag | Suva, Fiji, Tel.: (679) 32 32 023 -; Dr. N’Yeurt is the leading
macroalgae expert of the South Pacific, essential to the macroalgal component of the
USP: Dr Chinthaka Hewavitharane, School of Marine Studies, The University of the South
Pacific, Laucala Bay, Suva, Fiji. Tel: (679) 323 2927 Mob: (679) 925 9413, is an expert on aquaculture. He and his colleagues are
scientists with the mission of helping South Pacific people address food security and climate
issues. Their Research and Training Project in Laucala Bay, Fiji would involve students,
early career ocean professionals, local and indigenous knowledge holders, and local coastal
communities from the twelve USP member countries and other island nations.
USP: Dr. Jack Dyer,, (+0027) 076 973 2765, Durban, South Africa is
joining USP this year. Dr. Dyer just completed his PhD in Maritime Logistics and
Management (Blue Economy and Climate Change) to investigate potential climate change
impacts on Pacific marine ecosystem resources, Ports, Shipping and Maritime Supply
Chains, which is essential to ensuring successful marketing of the seafood.
USP South Pacific Regional Herbarium: Marika Tuiwawa, Curator, Institute of Applied
Science, Faculty of Science and Technology, Private Bag, Laucala Campus, Suva, Fiji.
marika.tuiwawa(at), +679 32 32970. Expert on mangrove ecosystems. His team also
includes specialists in a wide range of taxa including vascular plants, bryophytes, birds, bats,
freshwater fish and invertebrates, insects, reptiles and amphibians, many of which are
important to mangrove ecosystems.
USP expects to involve many faculty and staff, certainly those in the:
Pacific Centre for Environment & Sustainable Development
School of Marine Studies
Graduate School of Business
School of Education
School of Computing, Information and Mathematical Sciences
School of Engineering and Physics
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 34
Western Indian Ocean Region
International Ocean Institute Southern African (IOI-SA) can support agencies and
communities with training initiatives and connecting projects to regional networks including
South African Network for Coastal and Oceanic Research (SANCOR), Western Indian Ocean
Governance & Exchange Network (WIOGEN), Western Indian Ocean Marine Science
Association (WIOMSA) and Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA). Program Manager,
Shannon Hampton ( The IOI-SA specializes in ocean governance and
capacity development. IOI-SA is also the coordinating partner of the WIOGEN
( project which aims at developing enhanced networking and knowledge
sharing amongst partners in the Western Indian Ocean region, with the goal of achieving
improved ocean governance. WIOGEN is a MeerWissen Initiative with ZMT and IOI-SA as
implementing partners. Tel: (+27)829289577, (+27)217998830. Postal address: C/O SANBI,
Private Bag X7, Claremont, 7735, Physical address: 18 CBC Building, SANBI, Kirstenbosch,
Communities in the Western Indian Ocean Region
Dr. Flower Msuya,, is the founder and leader of the Zanzibar Seaweed
Cluster Initiative (ZaSCI), Mizingani Road, P.O. Box 3794 Zanzibar, Tanzania
Mob: +255 777 490807. The ZaSCI started with women farming seaweed. Dr. Msuya, with
funds from WIOMSA researched on a new way to farm seaweed in deep
(cooler) water and then with help from SeaPoWer implemented the new method. She also led
ZaSCI into processing seaweed into 50 value-added products and placing fish traps in the
seaweed farm. Dr. Msuya (2021) has started an AFEcosystem with giant clams. ZaSCI can add
instruments (sensors) and expand its AFEcosystems quickly with appropriate funding.
Love The Oceans, represented by Francesca Trotman, Founder
and Managing Director, Guinjata Bay, Jangamo District, Inhambane Province, Mozambique.
Love The Oceans is working with three communities: Paindane, Guinjata and Coconut around
Guinjata Bay. LTO guides each community to protect and study the diverse marine life found in
Jangamo, including many species of sharks, rays and the famous humpback whales. LTO’s
ultimate goal is to establish coordinated Marine Protected Areas with AFEcosystems for the
Inhambane Province in Mozambique, achieving higher biodiversity whilst protecting endangered
species. LTO scientists collect data on: coral reefs, humpback whales, whale sharks & manta
rays, ocean trash and fisheries. They work with active fishing communities helping them
transition to more sustainable practices and run two other community conservation outreach
projects. LTO can add more sensors and expand the MPA with AFEcosystem areas quickly with
appropriate funding.
Western Pacific Eastern Indian Ocean Regional Support Services
Seadling, Dr. Simon Davis,, Phone: +60 139876209, Biotechnology Research
Institute, University of Malaysia Sabah, 88400 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, is a social and
environmental impact seaweed biotechnology firm based in SE Asia that enhances the
productivity of community-led seaweed farming and produces high-value seaweed nutritional
products. Seadling seedlings are proven to grow faster with higher yields and greater disease
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 35
resistance than those currently used. Seadling will provide faster growing seaweeds that will
enhance the entire programme.
Abundant Ocean Ventures, Luke Dallafior,, is:
a. Supporting funding Blue Economy projects throughout Southeast Asia. Projects with the
benefits of a Nutrient Recycling Seafood-Science Programme are particularly desirable.
Technologies of interest, in addition to seafood: marine plant and algae extracts; ocean based
alternative energy; blue carbon initiatives and ocean environmental analysis; and monitoring
and data systems. Abundant Ocean Ventures will provide seed and growth capital for
companies and technologies important to a sustainable blue economy.
b. Arranging projects in Bali, Indonesia that fit within a Nutrient Recycling Seafood-Science
Programme. The projects will support mindful and synergistic ocean-based business
ecosystems for coastal people throughout Indonesia. The projects can be scaled on a regional
or global basis.
Central America
Miguel Hoffman,,, 503-7896-
0687, is the Founder of RAMA (Rescate al Medio Ambiente) [Environmental Rescue], San
Salvador, El Salvador, a non-governmental organization of El Salvador. RAMA believes that our
blue planet requires blue solutions to the most pressing crises of our epoch: environmental
degradation, climate change and deep, institutionalized poverty. RAMA will help organize
SEAFoods projects (both sheltered and open ocean versions) as well as projects clearing El
Salvador’s freshwater lakes and rivers of their hyacinth infestations.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 36
Appendix A Typical Projects
These examples of projects tend to describe the sustainable development in more detail than the
science that is associated with each project. The science is better described in Details of Ocean
Science and Sustainable Development.
Typical Projects for the tropical West Pacific and Indian Oceans
The tropical West Pacific and Indian Oceans are likely to have somewhat similar SEAFoods
built-reef ecosystems. This is because the area is home to a possible key primary producing
species, giant clams. See Figure A1. Giant clams, like coral, contain significant symbiotic algae.
Neo et al. (2015) provides details.
Fig. A1 A map of the geographic extent of giant clams from Othman et al. (2010)
Table 2 in Neo et al (2015) shows giant clams natural population densities can range from 36 to
909,000 individuals per hectare. The latter density is mostly juvenile clams producing the highest
biomass (on the table) of 238 kg/ha/yr dry weight. This implies that we might expect to harvest
about 2 tonnes/ha/yr wet weight of all species in the ecosystem (with nutrient conditions similar
to Fangatau and Tatakoto atolls). The productivity/area might be substantially improved when
nutrients equal to those extracted are returned to the ecosystem. Even with only background
nutrients, a 20-ha ecosystem would produce $80,000/ha/yr with seafood worth $2/kg at the dock.
The 500-m diameter circle of Figure A2 encloses 20-ha. With ample nutrients and more
photosynthetic species, productivity can be over ten times higher.
OceanForesters research with the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects
Agency-Energy’s MARINER program suggests productivity with optimum nutrients could be
between 30 to 100 tonnes/ha/yr wet weight of all harvested species (Lucas et al. 2019b).
The easiest way to recycle nutrients to a SEAFoods ecosystem is to locate it where people are
placing too many nutrients, such as discharges from sewage treatment plants. The challenge
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 37
becomes installing and managing the filter feeders, macroalgae, and giant clams to maintain
sufficient dissolved oxygen for a healthy ecosystem, but this could be managed with the Digital
Twin computer program.
When an area has less-than-optimal nutrients, the easiest way to recycle nutrients is to collect
and pasteurize people’s urine. Pasteurization requires only 55ºC for 2 hours. (Or longer times
and higher temperatures when dealing with more problematic materials.) All the urine from 100
people could in theory convert to 10 tonnes/year of wet shell-on blend of all harvested species
(finfish, shellfish, seaweed, mollusks, etc.). Actual production will be much less, perhaps less
than half. When recycling nutrients to support a seaweed monoculture, 100 people’s urine could
theoretically add 20 wet tonnes/yr to the crop.
When preserving or restoring coral reef ecosystems, SEAFoods can emphasize giant clams for
primary productivity and filtering (water clarity). That is, the aerial view could resemble Figure
A1, but with less seaweed. The growth of native macroalgae, recycling of inorganic nutrients,
distribution of inorganic nutrients should be managed such that increased seafood productivity is
compatible with healthy nearby coral reef ecosystems.
When coral is not a concern, such as over a muddy or sandy seafloor, farmed and volunteer
macroalgae can be the key primary productivity. This especially when recycling substantial
inorganic nutrients. The plan could resemble Figure A2, but with more seaweed.
Only the primary producers are shown in Figure A2. The ring of seaweed around the circle filled
with giant clams may be useful to define the boundary of the fished SEAFoods ecosystem.
Hopefully, the host country’s laws and culture will acknowledge that all the species, biomass,
and shell mass inside the ring belong to the people who built, seeded, and maintain the
SEAFoods ecosystem. Most of the ecosystem biomass will volunteer. Many “planted” or
“stocked” species will be managed to become self-seeding, such as giant clams. Much of the
SEAFoods ecosystem may spread downstream.
Fig. A2 Concept plan of a SEAFoods ecosystem in shallow water where giant clams are native
(Structures, giant clams, and seaweed inside the ring are not to scale.)
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 38
Managing and harvesting the SEAFoods ecosystem is more like forestry than farming. There are
many harvested species. A species is harvested before its population boom threatens a crash of
that species or the ecosystem. All species are harvested in moderation, sparing especially
individuals with the largest reproductive capacity. A one-species example A few giant clams
(the survivors of heat waves and other stressors) are allowed to age until their reproductivity
declines. Most giant clams become food for other creatures. Science includes genetic testing to
find those young giant clams susceptible to heat waves. Some of them might be harvested and
sold before predicted heat waves.
Growing seaweed monocrops (sometimes with shellfish) is becoming a hot topic. See the
Seaweed Manifesto (Lloyd’s Register Foundation 2020), Seaweed as a Nature-Based Climate
Solution Vision Statement (United Nations Global Compact 2021) and the MARINER Program
(ARPA-E 2017). Seaweed production via large farming operations could depress prices,
although some hope for carbon sequestration fees. In a built-reef ecosystem, seaweed may be
more valuable for ecosystem services, such as dissolved oxygen, in-situ food for other species,
shelter, and reproductive habitat, than if harvested.
Where seafloor depth is greater than about 20 meters, flexible floating reef structures as
described for AdjustaDepth (Capron et al. 2018, Lucas et al. 2019a and 2019b) become
necessary to support macroalgae and symbiotic algae in the photic zone.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 39
The Zanzibar Seaweed & SEAFoods Cluster Initiative
Dr. Flower Msuya
and the OceanForesters
The warming ocean forces the Zanzibar Seaweed Cluster Initiative (ZaSCI) to move operations a
few kilometers offshore. The ideal seafloor depth of 6 to 10 meters of rarely too warm. The red
circled area in Figure A3 includes mud, sand, and coral reef seafloors with maximum depth near
80 meters. The offshore move requires boats. Boats are expensive, which means the operation
must earn more per year and more per boat trip. Needing boats is one of the reasons ZaSCI is
already trapping fish that visit their seaweed farming operation.
Fig. A3 Planned location for Zanzibar Seaweed & SEAFoods Cluster Initiative
ZaSCI plans to add the SEAFoods ecosystem depicted in Figure A2 to its current seaweed
farming operation. The planned SEAFoods operating area (red circle in Figure A3) contains all
three conditions allowing them to adjust between mostly seaweed and shellfish to mostly giant
ZaSCI will start pasteurized urine recycling with 20 people using techniques refined at the Rich
Earth Institute. Twenty people should boost monocrop seaweed production about 2 tonnes/yr or
sea creature production about 1 tonne/yr.
The University of Dar Es Salam Institute of Marine Sciences will coordinate research activities
on the ZaSCI SEAFoods ecosystems. The minimum participation of ZaSCI members would be
as citizen scientists and sensor maintenance. ZaSCI needs science to develop a digital twin for
the Zanzibar ecosystem. Digital twin explained in Appendix C.
Founder and leader of the Zanzibar Seaweed Cluster Initiative (ZaSCI), Tanzania
Includes: Engr. Mark E. Capron, MASCE*, Engr. Mohammed A. Hasan, FASCE*, Jim Stewart, PhD, Don Piper,
and Graham Harris. Contact:, California 805-76-1967
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 40
WorldFish Aquatic Foods Ecosystem (AFEcosystem) with Climate Mitigations
Proposed for WorldFish Research Facility, Nusatupe, Ghizo Island, Solomon Islands
Climate Mitigations of AFEcosystems
A marine AFEcosystem consists of flora and fauna. The flora’s photosynthesis provides food and
oxygen for fauna while raising pH. The food is carbon dioxide converted to organic carbon. The
fauna fixes carbon as calcium carbonate while lowering pH. The AFEcosystem supports five
climate change mitigations (for more information, see Appendix B):
1. The produced aquatic foods (finfish, shellfish, macroalgae) have a lower carbon footprint than
other foods (beef and pork) (Ritchie & Roser 2019; Poore & Nemecek 2018; Parker et al.
2018). This mitigation can be over a billion metric tons per year of CO2e by 2050.
2. Some of the food (organic material) produced during photosynthesis is stored for over a
hundred years in sediments near the AFEcosystem or the deep ocean (Krause-Jensen and
Duarte 2016). At the scale of maximum aquatic foods demand, this mitigation can be a few
hundred million metric tons per year of CO2e by 2050. Scaling beyond maximum food demand
may be limited by available nutrients (inorganic nitrogen, phosphorous, and others).
3. Photosynthesis can cause nanoparticles of calcium carbonate to precipitate when the pH rises.
The scale of mitigation is indeterminant prior to the experiment.
4. The bony fish in the AFEcosystem are excreting calcium carbonate pellets. Here-to-fore the
carbon dioxide removal (CDR) of the pellets was debated because the chemistry of forming
pellets lowers pH, causing release of CO2 from the ocean.
5. The shellfish in the AFEcosystem are forming shells of calcium carbonate. See Appendix B.
Here-to-fore the carbon dioxide removal (CDR) of shell formation was debated because the
chemistry of shell formation lowers pH, causing release of CO2 from the ocean. At the scale
of maximum aquatic foods demand, this mitigation can be a few hundred million to a billion
metric tons per year of CO2e by 2050.
Features of an Aquatic Foods Ecosystem demonstration at Nusatupe.
Referring to Figures A4 A6:
One or more permanent permeable sloping support surfaces (Fig. A6) for giant clams and
macroalgae in the 30 to 35-m deep area. The support surfaces become the “created” 3-
dimensional ecosystem to receive recycled nutrients. The support surface is vertically
stationary, not moving with the tides. The shallow end might be 0.2-m below low tide. The
deep end perhaps 20-m below low tide. The varying slope helps determine what is the
minimum, optimum, and maximum depth for assorted attached growth species, particularly
the native giant clam species and underwater plants. The ecosystem will include bottom
feeders and perhaps shelter and attached growth substrate between the seafloor and the
underside of the sloped surface. Sealife “traffic” between the seafloor and the sloped surface
is encouraged.
Existing data from throughout the entire Nusatupe area organized for inclusion with other
digital twin data.
Temperature, photo/video, acoustic, chemistry, etc. sensors placed throughout the area and
throughout the water column and into the sand of the intertidal area.
Nutrient recycling system (pasteurized urine, ideally from as many as 50 people).
The existing giant clam and seagrass strip is left as-is but instrumented to assess the effects of
any nutrient spillover, temperature and sea level rise changes.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 41
Options to add tide pool ecosystems in the intertidal area. Options to add mechanical cooling
and aeration.
Most of the area remains no-take zone. The locations and species where harvesting is allowed
might change monthly or weekly. The population and health of every species is managed by
occasional harvesting and perhaps stocking/seeding throughout the 30-ha area.
Fig. A4 Aerial overview of Nusatupe Aquatic Foods Ecosystem area, pre-structure
Fig. A5 Aerial view of potential arrangement for initial substrate platforms
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 42
The substrate will support pre-historic species densities at their ideal water depth and water
temperature. More than pre-historic photosynthesis may be needed for converting inorganic
nutrients and sunlight to food, increased dissolved oxygen, maintaining pH, and carbon dioxide
Figure A6 is an elevation of a possible structure. The load cells on the mooring lines would
measure tension, recording the underwater weight of the floating structure. Recording changes in
underwater weight throughout the day may be essential for quantifying climate change mitigations.
Fig. A6 Elevation (side view) of a substrate platform with load cells
The mooring lines would have a filter wrap under a jacket to prevent biologic or sand sharps from
reaching the strength fibers. Properly sized mooring lines (allowing for creep) should go 10 to 20
years between replacements.
The floats might be 0.3-m to 1-m diameter welded HDPE pipe with welded attachments for
connecting to the mooring lines and the bamboo truss platform. Properly sized HDPE pipe and
attachments should go 50 to 100 years between replacements.
If the optimum ratio of “created” substrate to no-take area is about 1:5, then Nusatupe 30-ha would
justify about 6-ha of platform and horizontal ropes (combined). The initial structure in Figure A5
would be about 0.5-ha. Each person provides about 11 grams/day of nitrogen in their urine. (About
2 grams of nitrogen/person/day in feces.) The maximum nutrient loading is the urine from 100
people applied to a hectare of created ecosystem. Urine from ten people would be plenty to start
because we need to grow the plant biomass over a few months.
Using just half of the indicated 0.5-ha structure (the other half is control), could support recycling
the urine nutrients from about 50 people when at full growth. The urine from 50 people should
enable sustained sea creature seafood production between 50 to 100 tonnes/year. Allow six to
twelve months to ramp-up nutrient distribution and another six to twelve months for adjustments
and reaching a new equilibrium.
The fish are completely free range so the increased production (and the additional nutrients) will
be shared/spread among many species and over an area larger than the Nusatupe marine protected
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 43
The University of the South Pacific’s Tropical Pacific Region
Science Enables Aquatic Foods (SEAFoods) with Healthy Oceans
Laucala Bay Training and Research Center
Dr. Rajesh Prasad
, University of the South Pacific, Fiji, with the OceanForesters2
Fig. A7 Locations of project components
Summary: The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) member and associate countries
need an
aquaculture research and training center. The shallow sheltered water center locations are shown
in Figure A7. Eventually, research and training can be expanded to the open ocean. Fiji is
mentioned in Gentry et al. (2017) for its abundance of open ocean area with less than 200-m
seafloor depth.
Need: Most urgently, island nations that relied on tourism for jobs and subsistence have had to
relax fishing management rules. People need to feed themselves during the pandemic. Over the
not-so-long term, island nations and their coastal ecosystems are vulnerable to the impacts of
climate change which are exacerbating the issues of food security, poverty, land shortages as
populations increase, declining wild fisheries, and
pollution, especially in their sheltered bays and lagoons.
SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans: The Tropical Pacific
SEAFoods Training and Research Center would be based
at the USP Suva campus and would provide students from
across the Pacific examples of SEAFoods facilities.
SEAFoods involves establishing a complete ecosystem
that cycles ‘waste’ nutrients into increased seafood
Dr Rajesh Prasad, Lecturer/Fellow in Aquaculture, School of Marine Studies, University of the
South Pacific, Suva, Fiji, Phone: +679 32 32952,
Member countries: Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati^, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Solomon Islands^,
Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu^, Vanuatu^ and Samoa. Associate countries: East Timor^, Federated States of
Micronesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea (Note that ^ indicates a least developed country.)
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 44
production, while cleaning up pollution and restoring the natural environment.
Candidate species for fisheries restoration include: giant clams, oysters, mussels, conch, abalone,
mud crabs, lobsters, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, sponges, herbivore finfish, filter-feeding finfish,
predatory finfish, and more. Supporting species needed to maintain a robust ecosystem and
improve yield include: seaweeds, seagrass, mangroves, epiphytes, and many tiny sea creatures.
USP and OceanForesters will seek indigenous ocean knowledge to help ensure a robust ecosystem.
Why Laucala Bay: Laucala Bay, adjacent to the USP campus, will provide an excellent
demonstration and teaching site, since it presents an extreme example of the excess nutrient issues
found in many countries. See Figure A7. The water is clouded with sediment from the rivers and
microalgae growth from the Kinoya Sewage Treatment Plant outfall and fecal coliform. Supplying
a million or so filter feeders (oysters, mussels, clams, giant clams, plus volunteer filter feeding
finfish) along with planting mangroves and perhaps seagrass will clarify the water. The shellfish
and finfish can thrive when they are near underwater plants. Plants raise pH (and thus locally
reverse ocean acidification) and increase oxygen levels. The plants can thrive when the water is
clarified (they are not covered by sediment).
Laucala Bay is also ideal because giant clams are native, the seafloor is less than 15 meters deep,
and its natural condition is coral reef. Giant clams have symbiotic algae, like coral. That is, they
are both a nutrient absorbing plant and a filter feeding animal. They are the ideal keystone species
for SEAFoods projects that can also restore coral reef ecosystems. Giant clams are native
throughout the eastern tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans. See Figure A1.
Dr. Prasad and OceanForesters are currently designing a trial which might quantify giant clam
a. How many logs of fecal coliform removal the shellfish accomplish? (You can adjust the
flow-thru rate proportional to the shellfish’s filtering rate. If funds allow, check for other
wastewater borne microbes.)
b. Do the giant clams absorb nitrate and ammonia/urea from the water? (They might get all
the N their symbiotic algae need from digesting organic N the clams filter out of the
water. If they do not remove inorganic N from the water, we can arrange the ecosystem to
feed them microalgae.)
c. If funds allow, check for a daytime dissolved oxygen and pH increase, perhaps night-time
dissolved oxygen and pH decrease.
Self-Sustaining: Eventually, income from seafood sales can be used to expand and sustain USP’s
Research and Training Center. Many island nations will install SEAFoods projects for both local
consumption (reducing imports) and export income, improving their diet and economies and
increasing resilience to climate issues.
Open Ocean Future: Fiji is one of three places singled out in Gentry et al. (2017) for its large
area of seafloor that is less than 200 meters deep. Open ocean SEAFoods structures around Fiji
would be in water at least 50 meters deep. The macroalgae and giant clams would normally be
supported near the ocean surface but would submerge during typhoons.
Funding and Governance: Training and proof-of-concept research can start with as little as
US$30,000 for materials and labor. Any amount up to about US$2 million over a few years can be
leveraged into a first-rate SEAFoods Training and Research Center. The reef and mangrove
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 45
ecosystems, along with seafood yield data and calibrated fisheries models, could provide collateral
for bank loans to expand a SEAFoods business.
USP and OceanForesters would like the Laucala Bay SEAFoods business to fit the Fijian culture
and UN Sustainable Development Goals. This means involving USP’s social and business
departments plus all the stakeholders around Laucala Bay.
OceanForesters’ bio-ecological-engineering analysis suggests the Laucala Bay SEAFoods
business could have US$10 million/yr net revenue after full expansion (five to ten years). That is,
the Laucala Bay business should have ample revenue to fund USP’s Laucala Bay Training and
Research Center. The business would fund the Center because the business needs trained
employees and knowledge to manage the SEAFoods operations for robust biodiversity and yields.
Long Range Benefits: With minimal initial foundational funding, students trained at the Fiji
Center can bring this profitable system to the open ocean and sheltered water of many countries
across the Pacific, helping them to remain self-sufficient in seafood, while some of them generate
income from surplus international sales. The micronutrients in seafood will improve the diets and
health of thousands of people. Thousands of hectares of mangrove restoration will not only
improve water quality but also protect islands against tropical storms. The income will give them
more options to adapt to sea level rise.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 46
Malaysia and Indonesia SEAFoods Projects
Dr. Simon Davis
and the OceanForesters2
Seadling has strong relations with four seaweed farming communities:
Kota Belud and Semporna, Sabah, Malaysia
Nunukan, Kalimantan, and Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Dr. Davis feels that seaweed farmers in the indicated communities may be interested in
participating in the Ocean Decade. Their minimum participation would be as citizen scientists
and sensor maintenance while conducting their current seaweed farming operations. Their
science could include testing Seadling’s seaweed seedlings for:
Sustained production of high-value seaweed nutritional products through marine heat
Continued and further improved robust disease resistance through changing ocean
Increased local day and night dissolved oxygen and pH by seaweed species and breeding.
Some of these communities may elect to transition their seaweed farming operations to
SEAFoods ecosystems. Doing so implies building their capacity to conduct the science needed to
personalize SEAFoods ecosystem model.
Seadling’s Expanded Seaweed Hatcheries Project
Dr. Simon Davis5 and the OceanForesters2
Seaweeds used in farming need to adapt to warming and other changing conditions. Or the
seaweed farmers will need to move farther offshore. Seaweeds cannot migrate fast enough when
marine heat waves can cause migrations of finfish a hundred kilometers in a few months, Jacox
et al. (2020). See the urgency discussion for more issues needing directed evolution and the
lifeboat analogy.
Seadling will provide adaptions by expanding breeding and hatchery operations with: more
science and more hatchery locations.
Founder and Managing Director of Seadling.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 47
General concepts Designing reef rocks for ecosystem biodiversity
A few reef rocks should be designed as homes for important species. For example, the octo-
columns, designed by Bob Kiel (2020) and shown in Figure A8, are homes for California’s two
spot octopus. They are placed with 50-foot spacing for the Goleta Bay Kelp Study. Over several
years, Mr. Kiel installed several designs, including 2-inch x 2-inch x 4-foot granite columns and
the pictured clay pipe. Kelp colonized all designs quickly, like in right side of Figure A8.
However, herbivores often prevented kelp from growing to maturity. California two-spot octopus
eats the herbivores that it finds within 30 feet of its home.
Figure A8 Photos of octo-column construction details and kelp growing on an octo-column
Hollow cylinder reef rocks and beach tide pools
Sandy shores often have waves too strong to slow sand movement with sea life alone. Reef rocks
can augment sea life to slow sand movement while providing secure anchors for plants, shellfish,
and other sea life. Mark Capron suggests the rocks might take the form of hollow cylinders as in
Figures A9 and A10. Hollow cylinders would hold sand while providing shelter and anchor
points for sea life.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 48
Figure A9 Aerial and elevation views of hollow cylinders employed to stabilize a beach
Figure A10 Elevation-section view of tide pools created on sandy or mud beach
The tide pool reef rocks shown in Figure A10 can be made from any size pipe (4 inches to 4 feet
in diameter), or pottery, and any non-plastic material. Pipe manufacturers make many fittings
such as stoppers (aka plug), tees, reducers, elbows, saddles, etc. The “stopper” could be
fashioned like the 1” thick ceramic cement lid on Figure A8’s octo-column. The tide pools could
be connected with pipe and saddles above or below the outside sand level. A cluster of pipes can
be wrapped with a band of stainless steel or contained by a circle of interlocking blocks from
Figures A11 and A12. A cluster of pipes is less likely to tip over or be washed away than is a
single pipe.
In warm climates, the top of the tide pools should be close to low tide to minimize the time for
the sun to warm the pool. Deeper water in the tide pool helps reduce warming between rising
tides. Unless the tide pool is kept full of water, a certain amount of sand or gravel is needed to
prevent the pipe floating out of the sand as the tide comes in.
Interlocking reef rocks
People have been resorting to placing large rocks (or walls) to prevent flooding and coastal
erosion as a less expensive option than beach nourishment. Large rocks are sometimes placed
perpendicular to the beach (a groin) to keep sand at that beach. The rocks must be large to
prevent their being moved and/or broken when hit by breaking waves.
Figures A11 and A12 show interlocking reef rocks. By interlocking the reef rocks they can resist
wave motion, even though relatively small. Because they are small, they are relatively
inexpensive allowing more (but smaller) groins. That is, the interlocking reef rocks are more
economic, aesthetically pleasing, and easier on people’s feet than large rocks or the hollow
cylinders of Figures A9 and A10.
The reef rock blocks of Figures A11 and A12 could be made of vitrified clay, Portland cement
concrete, and/or glass. Carbon neutral and even carbon negative materials may become available.
Plastic is not desirable as plastic particles are harmful to sea life. Metals will corrode and may be
too expensive. The dimensions shown are nominal. There should be sufficient clearance in the
pegs and holes to allow bottom blocks to tilt in three dimensions.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 49
Figure A11 Description of large interlocking blocks (reef rocks)
The large reef rock blocks of Figure A11 might cost about $100,000/mile of beach. Large rock
blocks weigh nearly 700 lbs (in air) per bottom block and 200 lbs per top block. Assembly will
require heavy equipment.
Figure A12 Description of small interlocking blocks (reef rocks)
Much smaller reef rocks of Figure A12 can be manually assembled into stable interlocking tee,
vee, circle, polygon, S-curve, and other shapes. For example, bottom blocks that are 12” long x
4” wide x 6” high with 2” diameter holes weigh about 18 lbs. Top blocks that are 10” long x 2”
wide x 6” high x 2” diameter pegs weigh 9 lbs.
The small reef rock blocks of Figure A12 would cost about $30,000/mile of beach delivered.
Small rock blocks weigh near 20 lbs per bottom block and 10 lbs per top block. However, a line
of small reef rock blocks will require transverse blocks to prevent waves and sand pressure from
tipping the reef rocks on their side.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 50
Both top and bottom blocks may have holes and slots so that the assembled structure is more like
a fence than a wall. (A fence can cause sand drifts to form much like a snow fence causes
downwind snow drifts.) However, expect several years of in situ trials to learn how the structures
interact with sea life and drifting sand. For example, sea plants, shellfish, barnacles, anemones,
will attach to subtidal and intertidal structures. The sea life will make the structure larger and
capture more sand while increasing forces that might tip or move the structure.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 51
Appendix B Certifying Seaweed-Shellfish-Finfish Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR)
with Low-to-Negative-Carbon Aquatic Foods
AFEcosystems can contribute to carbon dioxide removal (CDR) in a series of steps:
1. Build Aquatic Foods Ecosystems (AFEcosystems) that have byproduct CDR from:
(a) ample photosynthesis near shellfish forming shell and bony fish excreting calcium
carbonate pellets; and
(b) some macroalgae debris material created by photosynthesis sinks and is stored for
hundreds of years in sediments and/or deep ocean.
2. Mow, bale, and sink a perennial seaweed crop to accomplish CDR in a manner that does
not substantially reduce high-value seafood production.
3. Process macroalgae to separate C and H (energy) from N, P, and other nutrients, using
proven processes such as: anaerobic digestion (AD), hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL),
and pyrolysis. The nutrients are recycled to grow more macroalgae where needed or used
as land fertilizer. This CDR is from energy-scale expansion of Step1.
4. The products of the energy separation process include: (a) liquid and gas fuels (not
qualifying as CDR); (b) byproducts of fuel production, such as CO2 in AD biogas,
biochar, and bitumen that can be sequestered directly; and (c) sequestration of CO2
produced by combustion of the fuel, such as with Allam Cycle electricity generation
Nature-based Step 1(a) is the ocean equivalent of restoring complete land forest ecosystems.
Step1(a) is thus compatible with restoring healthy and healthful ocean ecosystems, adapting
ecosystems to prevent extinctions, and creating marine protected areas. Step1(a) is biodiversity
conservation with livelihoods.
Global Equity Many mitigations and CDR technologies would reduce emerging country food
security when deployed at the necessary scale. For example, schemes proposing growing vast
expanses of seaweed for sinking would decrease food security for coastal communities lacking
excess anthropomorphic nutrients. In contrast, Step1, performed within well-managed
AFEcosystems, promises increased local food and job security, without using freshwater.
Low Cost Step 1’s CDR should have zero cost/ton up to a few hundred megatons of CO2
removed. That is, sale value of the aquatic foods pays for construction, operation, maintenance,
and monitoring to sustain biodiversity and measure CDR of the AFEcosystem. In Steps 3 and 4,
liquid fuel and energy sales covers most costs, including growing and harvesting macroalgae
(capturing carbon from air). In Step 4, the only extra cost is storing already compressed liquid
CO2 from Allam Cycle plants.
Food Security Income Premium Aquatic animals (fish and shellfish) produced in an
AFEcosystem can have a lower carbon footprint than plant-based (laboratory) meat. They also
have a lower freshwater footprint, are more nutritious, support biodiversity, and (from emerging
economies) provide more equitable access to income-generating opportunities (see Nature
Editorial 2021). Consumers in developed countries may pay a premium for AFEcosystem carbon
neutral or even carbon negative seafood.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 52
Details of Climate Mitigations by Aquatic Foods Ecosystems
A marine Aquatic Foods Ecosystem (AFEcosystem) consists of flora and fauna. The flora’s
photosynthesis provides food and oxygen for fauna while raising pH. The food is carbon dioxide
converted to organic carbon. The fauna fixes carbon as calcium carbonate while lowering pH. In
addition to profitable food production described below, the AFEcosystem supports five climate
change mitigations:
1. The produced aquatic foods (finfish, shellfish, macroalgae) have a lower carbon footprint
than other foods (beef and pork) (Ritchie & Roser 2019; Poore & Nemecek 2018; Parker
et al. 2018). This mitigation can be over a billion metric tons per year of CO2e by 2050.
2. Some of the food (organic material) produced during photosynthesis is stored for over a
hundred years in sediments near the AFEcosystem or the deep ocean. At the scale of
maximum aquatic foods demand, this mitigation can be a few hundred million metric tons
per year of CO2e by 2050. Scaling beyond maximum food demand may be limited by
available nutrients (inorganic nitrogen, phosphorous, and others), without robust nutrient
recycling. Others have and are quantifying the “natural” amount and storage time for the
carbon in organic debris from a seaweed forest
(aka AFEcosystem) and for sinking
bundles of macroalgae
. Many others are developing certification and quantification
processes for sinking algae.
3. Photosynthesis can cause nanoparticles of calcium carbonate to precipitate when the pH
rises. The scale of this mitigation is unknown prior to this experiment.
4. The bony fish in the AFEcosystem are excreting calcium carbonate pellets. Here-to-fore
the carbon dioxide removal (CDR) of the pellets was debated because the chemistry of
forming pellets lowers pH, causing release of CO2 from the ocean, but we believe that in
the presence of abundant seaweed, fish pellets provide a to-be-determined quantity of
CDR. Others have measured pellet production
5. The shellfish in the AFEcosystem are forming shells of calcium carbonate. Here-to-fore
the carbon dioxide removal (CDR) of shell formation was debated because the chemistry
of shell formation lowers pH, causing release of CO2 from the ocean. At the scale of
maximum aquatic foods demand, this mitigation can be a few hundred million to a billion
metric tons per year of CO2e by 2050. Potentially, this could provide a larger quantity of
sustainable CDR than simply sinking organic matter (as now being tested). This is because
shell contains protein (nutrients) which bacteria can recycle in the ecosystem without
dissolving the calcium carbonate. The USP demonstration will measure the respiration
(energy) associated with shell formation. The C in the respired CO2 associated with shell
formation should be subtracted from the C in the CaCO3 when determining the net CDR.
6. Biorock’s use of direct current electricity to precipitate calcium carbonate can be combined
with photosynthesis for net CDR. This is electricity replacing the fauna biology and the
respiration of climate mitigations 4 and 5 above. This experiment could show how the
Krause-Jensen and Duarte (2016). Also
Ocean Visions and ClimateWorks Foundation Request for Proposals: Ocean-Based Carbon Dioxide Removal
Analogues and Ocean Visions’ Designing a Framework for Responsible Research to Evaluate CO2 Removal and
Environmental Effects of Sinking Marine Biomass: Call for Nominations to an Expert Working Group
Salter et al. (2019) Calcium carbonate production by fish in temperate marine environments and Fish Guts Explain
Marine Carbon Cycle Mystery.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 53
Biorock process could build more rock faster with less current if done in the presence of
USP’s laboratory demonstration of climate mitigations 3-6 will quantify the mass of nanoparticles,
pellets, shell, and Biorock depending on pH, temperature, inorganic nutrient supply, and many
more parameters in a controlled environment to quantify the net CDR of each form of calcium
carbonate as a function of the mass of carbon in the calcium carbonate. Once determined in USP’s
controlled environment, we expect there will be a few parameters that others can monitor to
quantify and certify the commercial scale net CDR from climate mitigations 3-6.
Debate Around Shell and Pellet Formation CDR
There is considerable debate concerning the carbon sequestration potential of shellfish. This
debate is nicely summarized in Table 1 from Jansen and van den Bogaart (2020)
Approach No. 2 from Table 1 holds that seashells do not sequester carbon. This because the
shellfish use energy (respire CO2) when forming shell and the chemical reaction of dissolved
CO2 becoming calcium carbonate (shell) hydrogen ions. The hydrogen ions lower pH, which
causes dissolved CO2 to off-gas into the atmosphere. See Equations 1 and 2. Quoting from
Munari et. al. (2013)
, concerning a mussel farm, “The ratio of CO2 released to CaCO3
precipitated was calculated as a function of the near-bottom temperature. From our estimates, M.
galloprovincialis sequestered 136.6 molCO2 m−2 year−1 for shell formation, but the CO2 fluxes
due to respiration and calcification resulted 187.8 and 86.8 molCO2 m−2 year-1 respectively.
Jansen, H., & van den Bogaart, L. (2020). Blue carbon by marine bivalves: Perspective of Carbon sequestration by
cultured and wild bivalve stocks in the Dutch coastal areas. (Wageningen Marine Research report; No. C116/20).
Wageningen Marine Research.
Munari C. et al, Shell formation in cultivated bivalves cannot be part of carbon trading systems: a study case with
Mytilus galloprovincialis 2013
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 54
Mussel farming seems therefore to be a significant additional source of CO2 to seawater. For this
reason shell formation in cultivated shellfish cannot be part of carbon trading systems.”
in Approach Nos. 3 and 2b/3b point out that the context in which the shellfish is
grown is important. For one, the shellfish meat is high-protein food that displaces the production
of higher carbon footprint meat. Filgueira et. al. (2015) opine, “It is critical to split this CO2 flux
(respiration) between tissue and shell, because the ultimate goal is to determine the potential
inclusion of shells rather than the whole cultured individuals in the carbon trading system.”
Filgueira et al. also mention estimates by others that only 20 to 28% of shellfish respiration is for
building shell. Applying the 20 28% to 187.8 gives 38 53 molCO2 m−2 year−1 for shell-
building respiration. Wider variability is likely. For example, dense photosynthesis can so
increase pH that calcium carbonate particles precipitate in the water
. Producing shell when the
pH is so high that calcium carbonate is precipitating should require less energy (less respiration)
than when pH is lower. With ocean acidification, the pH can be so low that the mature shell is
dissolving unless the shellfish is expending energy (respiration) to maintain the shell.
None of the approaches in Table 1 consider the shell and pellet formation is supported by and
supporting photosynthesis. OceanForesters’ approach is to consider shell formation and
photosynthesis in one “box”. That is, the two processes occur together as suggested in Figure B1.
Figure B1 Simplified diagram of a macroalgae-shellfish ecosystem accomplishing CDR
Chemistry of Shell and Pellet Formation Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR)
The simplified formula for CO2 dissolving in water (or coming out of solution):
1. 2CO2 + 2H2O 2HCO3- + 2H+
gas water dissolved CO2 ions
A simplified ion-based formula for shell formation (calcification) from dissolved carbon dioxide:
2. Ca++ + 2HCO3- + 2H+ CaCO3 + HCO3- + H+ + 2H+
calcium ion 2 dissolved CO2 ions calcium carbonate dissolved CO2 ion hydrogen ions
Page 246 of Goods and Services of Marine Bivalves
Filgueira, R. et al. (2015). An integrated ecosystem approach for assessing the potential role of cultivated bivalve
shells as part of the carbon trading system.” doi: 10.3354/meps11048
Su, J., Cai, WJ., Brodeur, J. et al. Chesapeake Bay acidification buffered by spatially decoupled carbonate mineral
cycling. Nat. Geosci. 13, 441447 (2020).
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 55
Equation 2 suggests that in calcification (Munari and Fodrie
) two carbon atoms become one
carbon atom in calcium carbonate, one carbon atom in dissolved CO2, and a pair of hydrogen
atoms. The pair of hydrogen atoms indicates lowered pH (additional ocean acidification), which
will dissolve calcium carbonate and drive dissolved CO2 back to gas and water (reverse Equation
Chemistry of Seaweed-Shellfish-Finfish Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR)
If shellfish building their shells and fish forming calcium carbonate pellets was the only chemical
reaction in the ocean, the ocean acidification would already be much worse. But plants in the
ocean produce oxygen and raise pH (reduce acidification) using photosynthesis as shown in
Equation 3
3. 6HCO3- + 6H+ C6H12O6 + 6O2
6 dissolved CO2 ions sugar oxygen
Equations 1, 2, and 3 can be combined in Equation 4. Equation 4 shows that shellfish building
shell and fish forming pellets does sequester CO2 (accomplishes carbon dioxide removal)
provided there is sufficient photosynthesis in the ocean and not much energy (respiring of CO2)
is required for shell building. That is, the 86.8 molCO2 m−2 year-1 related to calcification in
Munari 2013 is negated by photosynthesis.
4. 2Ca++ + 8HCO3- + 8H+ 2CaCO3 + C6H12O6 + 5O2 + 2H2O
calcium ions dissolved CO2 ions calcium carbonate sugar oxygen water
long-term C storage
Using this full-ecosystem analysis, shell storage consists of about 140 units of CO2, minus
perhaps 50 units of CO2 formed during shell-building respiration. Or 90/140 = 60 to 70% C in
the shell can be claimed as carbon dioxide removal. These numbers inform Figure 1.
Thus, our hypothesis is the net sequestration number is highly dependent on ample nearby
photosynthesis because photosynthesis raises pH so that shellfish need less energy (less respired
CO2) to build shell. Therefore, growing plants near shellfish becomes even more important over
time because of ocean acidification.
The net sequestration number is also dependent on ecosystem services discussed in Filgueira
2015 and others. For example, Fodrie et al. (2017)
found higher net sequestration for
saltmarsh-fringing shellfish compared to sandflat shellfish. The time frame of the CO2 and
inorganic nutrient sequestration will vary depending on how the shells are handled. The shells
would last thousands of years when fashioned into jewelry or decorative bowls, in a dry-tomb
landfill, or piled in a desert. Somewhat shorter time periods (perhaps 100 years) if used to raise
beaches and reefs, as the foundation for bottom-laid shellfish, or when used to buffer pH (reduce
ocean acidity which allows seawater to absorb more CO2) and slowly release inorganic nutrients.
Fodrie, et al. 2017: “Biosynthesis of calcium carbonate liberates protons from bicarbonate (Ca2+ + HCO-
CaCO3 + H+), and subsequently contributes to the formation of excess carbonic acid (H+ + HCO-
3 H2CO3),
followed by venting of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (H2CO3aq H2O + CO2).
More H+ ions mean lower pH. The absence of H+ ions on the right side of the equation means higher pH.
Fodrie et al. (2017). Oyster reefs as carbon sources and sinks. Proc. R. Soc. B 284: 20170891.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 56
In the Biorock process, calcium carbonate accretes around the cathode when a direct electric
current is supplied in seawater. Like biologic shell formation, the accreting calcium carbonate
lowers pH and causes CO2 to off-gas into the air. That is Biorock, by itself, is not carbon
sequestration. However, when combined with nearby photosynthesis, the system should create
net CDR. Uses for the Biorock process when certifying and quantifying climate mitigations of an
1. Measuring the respiration required for shell formation Electrical energy and respiration
energy are different forms of energy. It may be much easier to measure electrical energy
than the respiration associated with shell formation.
2. Quick reaction The electrical system should react quickly to changes in pH, possibly
detecting how energy requirements change when photosynthesis changes pH. That is, the
Biorock process may detect if less energy is required with ample nearby photosynthesis
with more accuracy and repeatability than is possible with the biologic process alone.
3. Reduced respiration Shellfish are known to form shell faster when near a Biorock
cathode. Faster may also mean more shell mass with less respiration.
4. No respiration Biorock replaced respiration with electricity. If the electricity is
renewable (and life-cycle carbon neutral), the mass of carbon in the Biorock (produced
near ample photosynthesis) is all sequestered. A large-scale operation could involve
many small Biorocks growing among ample photosynthesis. The Biorock is scraped off
the cathode every few days in order to produce sand and gravel. The cathode is
continually reused.
Low- and Negative-Carbon Meat
While the income from meat sales dwarfs the potential income from CDR, the potential CDR
income would be useful to establish a certification process and market the only carbon-negative
meat. Carbon-negativity will depend on minimizing fossil fuel use during handling as well as
how well the ecosystem is managed.
Carbon-negative meat appears to run counter to the analysis in Munari et al. (2013). But
respiration is not included when calculating the carbon footprint of food products.
This because
the term “carbon footprint” is shorthand for “anthropomorphic (human activity) carbon
footprint.” The calculation includes things like N2O emissions from applied fertilizers, CO2 from
(fossil) energy use, CH4 from gut fermentation, and HFCs from refrigeration. The calculation
does not include CO2 breathed out by the animal or the human laborers involved. (Nor do we
subtract the CO2 absorbed by plants when calculating plant carbon footprints.)
Therefore, high-protein seafood from a properly managed Aquatic Foods Ecosystem can be
carbon negative.
Take-aways from Table 2 include:
The value of meat production dwarfs the potential value of CDR.
MacLeod, M., Gerber, P., Mottet, A., Tempio, G., Falcucci, A., Opio, C., Vellinga, T., Henderson, B. & Steinfeld,
H. 2013. Greenhouse gas emissions from pig and chicken supply chains A global life cycle assessment. Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 57
The range of variables that need to be measured near each site claiming either CDR or
low- to negative-carbon meat/seafood implies the need for a rigorously certified
quantification associated with each site.
The cost may limit the scale of seaweed-shellfish CDR to less than the demand for
seafood, which may be no higher than 500 million metric tons per year
by 2050.
The uncertainty in the net sequestration quantity is high, allowing the possibility of
achieving one billion metric tons of CO2 sequestered per year.
Table 2 Estimating the maximum scale of seaweed-shellfish CDR
Shell:Meat (wet) ratio estimated global average of
shell producing species (depends on species)
1 to 6
Fraction of respiration used to make shell (depends
on species and amount of adjacent photosynthesis)
20 to 60%
Amount of meat sold (wet weight)
million tonnes/yr
Amount of shell (CaCO3) made
600 to 3,000
Net sequestration of CO2 in shell12
200 to 500
Price for shellfish meat at the dock, at huge scale
$/tonne of meat
Income from meat
Price for nature-based CDR
$/tonne of CO2
Income from photosynthesis-shellfish CDR20
$10 to $20
Certifying Climate Mitigations and Carbon-Negative Meat at Commercial Scale
Others seek to quantify the limits of sustainable climate mitigations 1-2. These can be incorporated
by networking in this Blue Climate Initiative, with Ocean Visions, ClimateWorks Foundation, and
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and with those creating the Seaweed as a Nature-
Based Climate Solution Vision Statement for COP26.
For mitigations 3-6, the quantity of CDR is limited by the quantity of nearby photosynthesis. If
photosynthesis is adequate, the net CDR is equal to the mass of the shell produced minus the CO2
emitted (energy expended) associated with the shellfish producing shell. Certification requires
quantifying adequate photosynthesis, mass of shell, and respiration associated with shell-building.
Mark Capron suggests the mass of shell produced can be determined by weighing the shells any
of several ways including:
a. Harvest the shellfish, weigh them fresh, extract the meat, weigh the meat, subtract. Use
studies to establish the relationship between the weight of fresh shellfish and the dry weight
of shell for different species.
Current combined global meat and seafood production is near 500 million metric tons per year.
The certification process will be important because the quantity of CDR will vary widely depending primarily on
two variables, which are not yet well researched and will vary by location and time of year: (1) the shell-to-meat
mass ratio for every shellfish species and (2) the amount of respiration devoted to building shell, which should be
dependent on the species and the amount of adjacent photosynthesis.
Note this calculation assumes that the CO2eq emissions to certify the CDR and/or carbon footprint and/or to grow
and harvest the shellfish are negligible when using renewable energy (oars, wind, renewable electric powered boats,
etc.) for the work.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 58
b. Harvest the shellfish, extract the meat, dry the shells, weigh the shells.
c. Weigh the shellfish in situ while it grows using a tension measuring load cell. Use studies
to establish the relationship between the weight of in situ shellfish and the dry weight of
d. Weigh an Aquatic Foods Ecosystem structure in situ while flora and fauna grow using
tension measuring load cells to show increased weight of shell and meat. Use studies and
local monitoring to establish the relationship between the weight of in situ flora and fauna
and the dry weight of shell on the structure and as well as shell throughout the nearby
ecosystem. Figure 2 shows measuring the in-water weight of the flora and fauna on a
structure with tension moorings. In Figure B2, the tension decreases as the weight
increases. Alternatively, the structure may hang from floats so that the tension increases as
the weight increases. The load cell measures total tension. Calculating the vertical force
(weight) and horizontal force (from current or waves) requires knowing the inclination of
the load cell off vertical.
The density of seawater is near 1 g/cm3. The density of calcium carbonate is 2.9 g/cm3, meaning
the in-water “weight” of shell will be near 1.9 g/cm3. (Somewhat less due to proteins incorporated
in the shell.) The density of meat and plant material is nearly the same as that of seawater, such
that its in-water weight might be near 0.1 g/cm3. Thus, as much as 95% of the measured weight
increase should be additional shell.
Fig. B2 Elevation of an Aquatic Foods Ecosystem structure suspended below the ocean surface
with load cells to measure changing structure weight
This commercial scale demonstration may find parameters relating shell weight and the respiration
associated with that shell weight gain. The laboratory demonstration mentioned in CDR
Quantification Laboratory Demonstration may be necessary to calibrate and quantify the
relationships between parameters. Typical parameters easily measured at commercial include:
Changing shell weight The experiments may find the change in shell weight over time
combined with time of day (time may be a surrogate for solar insolation intensity and
photosynthesis intensity) correlates well with shell-building respiration rates.
Changing shell weight combined with one or more photosynthesis or temperature
parameters The experiments may find that shell-building respiration is related to pH,
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 59
temperature, or dissolved oxygen. More reason for local certification monitoring: (1)
Each macroalgae species functions within a temperature range; (2) Above some
temperature photosynthesis stops for some plant species; (3) the respiration per mass of
shell could spike during a heat wave; (4) Dying plants and animals may be consumed by
bacteria or sea creatures with corresponding decreased local pH and decreased dissolved
oxygen; (5) Optimum, minimum, and maximum photosynthesis temperatures depend on
the species. The available photosynthesizing biomass might be determined visually
(aerial photos) or with active acoustics. Color (reflected light wavelengths of aerial or
underwater photos) may be correlated with the amount of photosynthesis per biomass, for
known solar intensity and inorganic nutrient supply and/or tissue storage.
Changing weight combined with known activity The video, acoustic, and/or electric
activity monitoring may correlate well with shell-building respiration. After years of
experience, one drone aerial photo a week or one “wired” shellfish and/or acoustic sensor
for each square kilometer, may be sufficient.
Changing weight of a structure interpolated with aerial and/or underwater photography of
surrounding areas The macroalgae and shellfish only need to be grown in the certified
conditions to accomplish CDR. Harvesting macroalgae and shellfish is optional. In fact,
the Aquatic Foods Ecosystem requires harvesting many species (different species every
week or so) to balance the ecosystem. The surrounding areas may be rotating no-take
zones. That is the Aquatic Foods Ecosystem might involve: a structure covering 20-ha.;
and four rotating 20-ha no-take zones. Each year, one of the four no-take zones is fished
for certain species.
CDR Quantification Laboratory Demonstration
USP proposes to prove ways to quantify climate mitigations 3-6 at commercial scale by
conducting a laboratory-scale demonstration. Additional funding is expected to prove the
laboratory techniques at commercial scale. Others seek to quantify the limits of sustainable
climate mitigations 1-2. These can be incorporated by networking in this Blue Climate Initiative,
with Ocean Visions, ClimateWorks Foundation, and Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
and with those creating a Seaweed Vision Statement for COP26.
See Appendix C for a discussion of Seaweed-Shellfish-Finfish CDR controversy and an
explanation why the correct calculation involves the whole ecosystem. A laboratory
demonstration is the best way to quantify net CDR is like that shown in Figure 1, determined by
these CDR quantification parameters:
1. Photosynthesis neutralizing the hydrogen ions of shell and pellet (CaCO3) formation.
2. Respiration (energy expended) in shell formation, which may depend on species, pH, and
temperature. The amount of photosynthesis or the proportion of photosynthesis to
respiration (plus the background concentration of CO2) are determine the pH.
In these quantification experiments we prefer a large volume of data, graphed over time such that
we (or artificial intelligence) can detect and quantify trends. Therefore, several parameters are
monitored continuously and simultaneously for weeks to months, including:
Shellfish weight (The load cells provide an analog signal of tension, which is converted
to a digital record. Any recording interval is possible. A more frequent recording interval,
such as one second average values, may be important. Once-a-second may be sufficiently
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 60
frequent to identify noise from current turbulence (laboratory and full-scale) and waves
(full-scale). Once a second might detect rate-of-weight-changes within a few seconds of
changing photosynthesis status.)
Shellfish activity (photographically, perhaps video, at 1 frame/second, acoustically,
recording at appropriate to-be-determined frequencies, and perhaps electrical activity
Shellfish oxygen consumption and CO2 production (respiration)
Parameters related to substantial nearby photosynthesis (pH, dissolved oxygen, etc.)
Other potentially important parameters, such as temperature
If funding allows (or at some future date), we will analyze samples of shell and pellets in hopes
of finding if shell and/or pellets contain clues to amount of respiration that went into their
formation. Possible examples:
Are isotopes in shell correlated with the respiration required to produce the calcium
carbonate? The mix of isotopes in shell is related to the water temperature at the time of
shell formation.
Is the microstructure of the shell related to respiration required to produce the calcium
carbonate? [For example, examining the microstructure of human kidney stones provides
clues about their formation.]
How is the makeup, amount, or structure of protein in shell correlated with the respiration
required to produce the calcium carbonate? Protein production is likely related to
bacteria, pH, enzymes, etc., which may be related to energy required for shell formation.
Does precipitating calcium carbonate when pH is high require less respiration (energy)?
If not, then the respiration required for shell or pellet formation could be related to the
amount of protein (with ample nearby photosynthesis). As the protein (mucus around the
pellets or toughness enhancing of shells) is relatively quickly bio-degraded, the protein
weight and associated respiration might be excluded from the net sequestration
These continuously monitored parameters should allow us to identify the respiration associated
with building shell. It might be best to apply artificial intelligence and machine learning to
analyze the data. Speaking in manual analysis terms we observe (visually, acoustically,
electrically, and change in weight) the rates and when the shellfish is building or not building
shell. Then relate the building or not building times and rates to the respiration rate and the
photosynthesis (dissolved oxygen level) plus other parameters, such as temperature.
Figure B3 diagrams an arrangement that might accomplish all objectives:
Figure B3 Diagram of laboratory quantification experiment
Animal and plant activity involves electricity. The electricity can be used to power sensors or monitored to learn
what electrical signals are associated with an activity of interest.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 61
Measuring the CO2 that is from respiration associated with building shell.
Identify data and correlations for estimating the respiration-for-shell-building number
related to photosynthesis (dissolved oxygen level) in the field. (Needed to certify the
carbon negativity of products harvested from aquatic foods ecosystems.)
Measuring the overall C and CO2 input and export for full confirmation of CDR.
Our objective is to monitor many parameters to discover correlations that allow robust and
inexpensive quantification of commercial scale seaweed-shellfish CDR. Having a theory helps
with the design of the experiment. Our theory is the instantaneous shell-building rate will be
proportional to the amount of photosynthesis
. This because more photosynthesis means higher
pH and/or more nanoparticles of CaCO3 in the water. The shellfish should be able to build shell
faster with less energy expenditure under these conditions. We continually measure respiration
and weight change during different situations:
When there is no photosynthesis (at night) the shellfish performs all respiration-inducing
activities (pumping and filtering water, growing meat and reproductive materials, and
perhaps some shell-building);
When there is photosynthesis (daylight) the shellfish performs all respiration-inducing
activities, but with much more shell-building (more weight gain); and
Varying amounts of photosynthesis and amounts of shellfish food (organic C, N, and P)
can be adjusted over the full range of possibilities.
Varying temperature in one or both tanks (temperature affects metabolism and respiration
In Figure B3, seawater is pumped through two relatively long narrow tanks (a plug flow). The
shellfish trays are suspended such that their weight is measured continuously, perhaps hanging
from load cells. The load cells provide an analog signal of weight, which can be digitally
recorded several times a second (or any interval). Both tanks are sealed on top so there is no
interaction with the atmosphere between the “Fresh seawater” sample point and the “Post-CDR
seawater” sample point.
Constituents and parameters to measure and adjust at each stage of seawater flow
Flow rate (L/min, etc.)
Temperature (ºC, etc.)
Salinity (g/kg, etc.)
Turbidity (ntu, etc.)
Solar insolation at the depth of the macroalgae (watts/m2, etc.)
Calcium (mg/L, etc.)
Dissolved oxygen (mg/L, etc.)
Dissolved carbon dioxide, carbonate, and bicarbonate (mg/L, etc.)
Inorganic C, N, and P (mg/L each, etc.)
Organic C, N, and P generally in particulate matter (mg/L each, etc.)
Total Alkalinity (meq/L)
ORP (oxidation-reduction potential, or REDOX) (millivolts, etc.)
We can achieve our objective finding any correlation mentioned in any of the ways mentioned on Pg. 5. We are
not reliant solely on finding the instantaneous shell-building rate is proportional to the amount of photosynthesis.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 62
We would occasionally add inorganic N and P to the fresh seawater to increase photosynthesis.
The macroalgae will absorb N and P at night (or over weeks) for daytime (or later) consumption.
We may occasionally cool or heat the seawater before either or both tanks to simulate different
in-field conditions.
Parameters to record in each tank
Both tanks are sealed and without air interface. The lid of the macroalgae tank should allow
sunlight to pass such that the sunlight intensity in the right wavelengths is appropriate for the
optimum growing depth of the macroalgae. During daylight, macroalgae photosynthesis will add
dissolved oxygen (and consume H+ ions) up to the equilibrium condition for oxygen at 1-atm
partial pressure (close to 30 mg/L at the ocean surface depending on temperature). Throughout
the day and night, animals and bacteria in the system will consume organic matter (reducing
dissolved oxygen and increasing CO2 concentration). At night, the macroalgae will also consume
oxygen and produce CO2. That is, the dissolved oxygen, pH, and CO2 in the post-photosynthesis
seawater will be dramatically different day to night.
Individual plants might be the focus of one video camera (night lighting that does not trigger
photosynthesis) and “wired”.
Without an air interface, the dissolved gas concentrations can be equilibrium for 1-atm partial
pressure. Ideally, only shellfish are consuming oxygen in the shellfish tank and there are no
plants (any size) photosynthesizing. It will be difficult to prevent bacteria from consuming
oxygen, but perhaps bacterial oxygen consumption can be treated as background noise and
filtered out. We subtract the oxygen-in of the post-photosynthesis seawater from the oxygen-out
in the post-CDR seawater to find the oxygen consumed by the shellfish.
We should try a variety of shellfish (clams, oysters, mussels, giant clams, snails, etc.) one species
at a time and blended species. We need times when the shellfish are active when there is no
photosynthesis. We may occasionally add dissolved oxygen and, if necessary, decrease pH to the
nighttime post-photosynthesis seawater so that the shellfish will occasionally have maximum
respiration without significant shell-building. (This step presumes that shellfish will not add new
shell when pH is low, even if they are working hard (respiring) while attempting to add or
maintain shell.)
The shellfish tank walls and lid should exclude light to prevent in-tank photosynthesis. However,
artificial light, at a wavelength that minimizes photosynthesis, will be needed for video
photography. The shellfish tank should also have exterior sound reduction features and acoustic
monitoring. A few of the shellfish might be “wired” to track their electrical activity. Perhaps a
few shellfish are the focus of all three the focus of one camera, a sensor acoustically connected
to its shell, “wired” for electrical activity.
The photography (and perhaps the sound) provides a continuous record of volunteer creatures.
Young creatures are bound to get past any filters and settle in either tank. Because volunteers
will accumulate over time, the macroalgae and/or the shellfish might be grown to some fraction
of maturity such that results can be obtained in a week or two of seawater flowing through the
Many arrangements of tanks are possible and potentially useful for identifying correlations. That
is tank pairs can be in parallel or in series. The shellfish tank can precede the macroalgae tank.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 63
Appendix C Digital Twin numerical model
Existing and future changes to marine ecosystems require proactive management to sustain
biodiversity and productivity through centuries of change. Successful proactive management
requires a digital twin computer model coupled with real-time remote monitoring and the
engagement of operators (fishing people) as citizen scientists. “Digital twin” is a term borrowed
from water resource management, meaning the simulation of the fluid mixing dynamics with
associated chemical and biological reactions in every step. In our case, the instruments will report
on current conditions in the managed ecosystem including nutrients, temperatures, species’
abundance, substrate, and other discovered essential parameters. With historic and current
condition data, the model can predict future conditions including each species’ population, growth
rate (in both biomass and number of individuals) as a function of hourly weather, oceanographic
parameters, number and size of predator/prey/symbiotic/supporting species, microbial
populations, dissolved oxygen concentrations (function of photosynthesis biomass, creature
biomass and metabolism/temperature, microbial biomass, organic carbon biomass, etc.), and more.
How to build digital twins
The OceanForesters suspect the best digital twins for the complex biology of Aquatic Foods
Ecosystems will be built with Artificial Intelligence (AI). We will need a few highly instrumented
Aquatic Foods Ecosystems to provide the organized and interrelated data the AI will use to make
AI finds correlations in massive data sets to make predictions. For example, every picture of a face
is a large data set. AI is “trained” to recognize individual faces by trial and error with a million
face pictures. For example, one can use AI to train a computer program to “age” a picture of a
child to show how they would look as a senior citizen. In our case, we provide the AI with a time
series of “snapshots” of the ecosystem. Each snapshot” includes data about each species and the
conditions in the ecosystem.
We use AI to train the digital twin to predict the future picture” of the ecosystem based on
historical trends, predicted physical conditions (temperatures, solar insolation, etc.), and predicted
biology (invasive species and/or population explosions). Some future situations are predicted by
other programs. The other computer programs are mostly existing. They predict short-term (a week
or two, like weather) and long-term (a few years or decades, like climate change models).
Note that any ecosystem Salt or freshwater aquatic, farmland, forest, landscape, park, marine
protected area, etc. can be instrumented and have a digital twin. As we accumulate experience with
more and more ecosystems, we will be able to greatly reduce the number of instruments needed in
an ecosystem. The accuracy of species populations projections will increase while the cost per
ecosystem to operate the digital twin will decrease.
Other digital twin details
The sensors will all be interconnected (sample intervals synchronized) to optimize data for AI-
machine learning; the digital twin will utilize these data to discover points of diminishing returns
for instrumenting future AFEcosystems. Machine learning may discover relationships between
biomass growth and certain parameters such that one $5,000 aerial drone taking hyperspectral
pictures replaces the need for $500,000 of sensors on future AFEcosystems (and we can convince
the permitting agencies this option provides more effective and robust monitoring). The sensors
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 64
will be selected to balance affordability, robustness, accuracy, and the capability of citizen
scientists to eventually deploy and maintain.
As an example of breakthroughs that might be made by interconnecting sensors There is no
commercially available inorganic nitrogen sensor that would be cost-effective for the citizen
scientist fishing people. But, with sufficient data, it should be possible to infer inorganic nitrogen
concentrations from a series of photographs of underwater plants taken with either underwater or
aerial cameras. Machine learning would infer water and inside-the-plant plant nutrient
concentrations based on growth rate and measurement of other factors affecting growth rate. Team
member Stingray Sensing will be testing an automated sensing system capable of remotely
monitoring oceanographic environmental conditions and health of macroalgae crops this summer.
To effectively execute the project, we will critically need numerous nitrogen sensors for many
years (i.e. 10 sensors per AFEcosystem for 10 years) and the available U.S. sensors are not
designed for this purpose, break easily/frequently and could not be serviced by fisher people, and
cost on the order of $100,000. Therefore, we are working with international sub-awardee Maria
Gabriela Almeida and Nitrogen Sensing Solutions who has developed a bioenzyme-based
inorganic nitrogen biosensor prototype. Its proof of concept provides fast results (< 5 min.), with
high sensitivity, negligible interference, and low detection limits (0.047 ppm or 1 𝜇mol/l), all at a
cost estimated to be ten to one hundred times less expensive than currently available methods. We
could calibrate the photos with these cost-effective sensors to potentially phase out or lower the
number of sensors in the monitoring array.
The envisioned digital twin model must be built on a connected network because the system is too
complex to be built with location and species-specific equations alone. It will likely require an
artificial intelligence/machine learning approach to mine data from many coastal communities and
their AFEcosystems for correlations. Each community’s digital twin is an interconnected tool
improving engagement with the ocean and connecting ocean resources, data, tech, and training
with impacted communities. The architecture of the numerical model should be planned such that
the user interface for the digital twin is intuitive in any language, much like video games and cell
phones are intuitive. If the user interface (likely a web and mobile app) is configured as a “game,
it may play more like chess with several minutes between “moves.” This is because the model will
be much more complex than StarCraft. (StarCraft is a fantasy ecosystem video game with only
three competing species.)
The intuitive interface will ultimately make the model usable in any language by any community
at all education levels. This universal utility makes the digital twin, eventually personalized for
each community’s ecosystem, an avenue for sustainable engagement with the ocean across ocean
sectors. Even the rudimentary Phase 2 version can teach how human well-being depends on
interactions of plants, fish, and functioning environment; understand sustainability, climate
change, etc. issues. The interface could include characters that people can pretend to be (fisherman,
sharks, Marine Geoscientist, dolphins, economist, sea turtles, ecologists, etc.), support species
(various sea creatures, sea plants, and microbes), tools (boats, sensors, cell phones, etc.), weather,
environment, locations, etc. as real as possible within time and budgetary considerations. Ideally
sufficient adopting communities will fund a group effort to improve the model because their
investment would pay back with sustained harvests and biodiversity.
The structural and biogeochemical monitoring instrumentation on the AFEcosystem, and in the
hands of the citizen scientist fishing people, needs to provide standardized data to facilitate
connection and integration of the different parameters’ outputs into the digital twin. The
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 65
instrumentation/sensors will be smart and computationally powerful yet low power usage
interconnected tools including instruments outside the AFEcosystem in the water and aerial
drones. For example, Williamson et. al. (2021) explains using images from drones to survey sea
cucumber numbers over parts of a reef. The density of 0.14 sea cucumbers/m2 has a different
geomorphic “signature” in satellite imagery than a density of 0.2/m2. Satellite imagery technology
continues to improve and become more affordable and will likely provide another important aspect
of monitoring. The drone and satellite imagery, the load cells measuring wave forces on the
substrate, the sounds, the concentrations of inorganic C, O2, CO2, N, P, and more are all connected
and synchronized. The fishing people should be able to maintain and operate the instruments;
however, significant QAQC of the data will be critical, especially as the models are in
development. The first few AFEcosystems will need substantial instrumentation, though as the
digital twin is refined, we hope to find consistent correlations so that fewer sensors will be needed.
The ecosystem operators will try possible actions on their networked digital twin to optimize future
biodiversity and productivity in their and neighboring AFEcosystems. Because the digital twins
are interconnected, trial actions can be coordinated, such as one community obtaining lobsters
from another to eat their overpopulating sea urchins. Other actions best tried on the numerical
model include timing and pulsing the nutrient return, adding/stocking/planting desirable microbes
(probiotics mentioned in Svoboda, 2021), shellfish, underwater plants, finfish, fish traps, etc. and
possible probiotics and nutrient distribution return. An accurate digital twin with an intuitive, even
fun, interface can be an interconnected tool for fishing people and an avenue for broad sustainable
engagement with the ocean.
The networking of the communities (people and software) and the digital twin must be structured
to assure control of their data by each community and resistance to cybercrimes. Cybercrimes are
increasing (Wolf 2018). Cybercrime costs United States businesses more than $250 billion and
as high as $1 trillion worldwide (Caravelli 2019). “97% of attacks actually consist of trying to
trick a user using social engineering techniques” (Zenitel 2020); therefore, it is important that our
digital twin project take precautions to protect our data, user, and systems. Many vulnerable
areas must be reinforced against cybercriminals, insider threats, inadequate employee training,
and negligence (Loukaka & Rahman, 2020). We will train our project stakeholders to take
necessary precautions for data privacy and security.
Potential demonstration locations
OceanForesters has identified several locations with suitable environments for highly
instrumented Aquatic Foods Ecosystems, including Fiji (Laucala Bay, next to the University of
the South Pacific) and Solomon Islands (WorldFish’s Nusatupe Innovation Research Center).
Criteria for highly instrumented Aquatic Foods Ecosystems:
a. Aquatic Foods Ecosystem (AFEcosystem) demonstrations could be at scale of 10 to
1,000 people in the community with: (1) Clean seawater with low background nutrients,
(2) Sheltered from tropical storm waves (we could build in open water at great additional
expense), (3) Sufficiently deep seafloor such that the lower half of the water column is
cool enough for species to survive a marine heat wave, (thought to be at least 10-m), (4)
People willing to donate and distribute pasteurized urine (5 to 100, depending on
structure size and available background nutrients).
b. AFEcosystem for one kiloton XPrize demonstration needs: (1) If no available
background nutrients, need urine from about 30,000 people (this estimate is based on
mass balance, could be more or less in practice). Or could be location with excess of
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 66
nutrients, such as the treated wastewater outfall with 85,000 people’s nutrients in Laucala
Bay, Suva, Fiji, or a combination. (2) Sheltered from tropical storm waves. (3)
Sufficiently deep seafloor. (Laucala Bay is only 5 to 15-m deep and has more freshwater
and sediment input than is ideal. Freshwater implies lower calcium ion concentration.
Sediment smothers plants.
c. Laboratory demonstration of Seaweed-Shellfish-Finfish CDR (carbon dioxide removal)
needs: (1) Clean seawater flowing through tanks, 10-20 liters/minute, single pass, (2)
Sophisticated sensors, laboratory sample analysis. Past published science indicates that
net CDR happens sometimes in the presence of ample photosynthesis but not always. We
need to prove that we can establish the conditions for reliable net CDR. Our hypothesis is
that ample photosynthesis creates the right conditions. University of the South Pacific
(USP) is ready to do this if funded, and has an application in the Blue Climate Initiative,
but other lab locations would be fine.
Collaboration Details
Other organizations within the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-
2030) that are working on aspects of a digital twin include:
1. Already funded work by:
a. U.S National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency: NOAA Coastal Aquaculture Siting and
Sustainability Program, A Transformative Decade for the Global Ocean Acidification
Observing System, Committee on Earth Observation Satellites - Coastal Observations,
Applications, Services, and Tools (CEOS COAST), The World Ocean Database
Programme (WODP): Openly discoverable, accessible, adaptable, and comprehensive
digital global profile oceanographic data of known quality.
b. U.S National Science Foundation: GEOTRACE, Global Ocean Biogeochemistry Array
(GO-BGC Array), NSF Coastlines and People.
c. Other contributions could include: International Association of Oil and Gas Producers
Environmental Genomics Joint Industry Programme, The Ocean Decade Image Bank and
d. United Nations: Digital innovation Hand-in-Hand with fisheries and ecosystems scientific
monitoring, Ocean Observing Co-Design: evolving ocean observing for a sustainable
future, Observing Together: Meeting Stakeholder Needs and Making Every Observation
Count, Ocean Practices for the Decade, Ocean Literacy With All (OLWA): the change we
need for the ocean we want, The EAF-Nansen Programme - Supporting the Application of
the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF) management: considering climate and
pollution impacts.
2. Proposed Ocean Decade programmes seeking funding:
a. Digital Twins of the Ocean - DITTO (Germany)
b. CoastPredict - Observing and Predicting the Global Coastal Ocean (Italy)
c. ForeSea - The Ocean Prediction Capacity of the Future (International)
d. Global Ecosystem for Ocean Solutions (GEOS) (A)
e. Marine Life 2030: A Global Integrated Marine Biodiversity Information Management and
Forecasting System for Sustainable Development and Conservation
f. Ocean Biomolecular Observing Network (OBON) The Hydro presents: The Decade of
Ocean Empathy
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 67
Appendix D Budget and Logic Framework
Budget - Science Enables Abundant Food (SEAFoods) with Healthy Oceans
Initial Programme
High Level Budget
(US$ millions)
Activity A: Create the
master framework for
digital twin computer
model(s), global
Program and Data
Management, and
amplified networking,
plus supporting
implementation by
other support services
and communities.
Activity B: Support
communities working
together to create
sustainable seafood
security from healthy
oceans as each
community sees fit.
Activity C: Build
demonstration for the
CDR XPrize, at least
one kiloton/year of CO2
sequestered at one
Total by year
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 68
High Level Budget Rationale
This tab presents an initial overview of a High Level Budget for Global SEAFoods.
Activity A: Global Computer Model (digital twin), Program and Data Management with amplified
networking includes developing and calibrating computer programs that model as many as possible of
the important species in each reef ecosystem. The models also provide predictions for health,
development, life and death of the important species. The complexity of the models is such that they
are best developed with all the data the built-reefs can provide (globally) while using artificial
intelligence to detect correlations. The computer models will be integrated with local and global ocean
observing sensors and satellites, and linked to form a comprehensive digital representation of the local
ocean and ecosystems to produce concrete recommendations for optimizing any given ecosystem in
real time, including associated multi-hazard early warnings (hopefully weeks or months in advance) of
heat waves, etc. The computer model of the ocean ecosystem gradually includes more species, more
inputs, more accuracy, longer range forecasts, better calibration, etc. over time.
The computer networking system also includes capability to process and integrate data from sensors
from each reef and no-take reserve combined ecosystem to feed the computer models, as well as
provide operational data for each community.
In addition, the networking system reports the relative successes of each ecosystem, along with its
parameters so that other communities can learn what works best and apply those lessons locally. It
will also have a search and Q&A capability to access the knowledge base as well as experts.
Initially, donor funding for Activity B finances the Regional and Global Computer Models, Program and
Data Management. It is expected that by year 5 reef production will generate sufficient extra income to
support those expenses.
Ideally, donor funding for Row 3 could also finance a Global Computer Model, Program and Data
Management system providing the data outlined above linking and supporting each Regional
Programme. Within a few years, the operation and improvement of each community's computer
models and networking are expected to prove, to each community, that their value exceeds their cost.
Also within a few years, each community's additional seafood production is expected to generate
sufficient income to support a fair share of continuing networking and model operation/improvement so
no more donor funding is needed.
Activity B: Business and Marketing Systems Communities will benchmark their AFEcosystems
for local high-quality safe food to ensure local health and well-being as well as sustainable biodiversity
and local ocean health. The quality and sustainability of the product, combined with networked market
coordination, will ensure eligibility for top prices on the international market, including the whole value
chain: growing, harvesting, moving products to end consumers, government facilitating, etc.; working
with international food-safety certification and marketing agencies and companies for maximum long-
range profitability; and networking to facilitate steady availability of high-quality products. It is expected
that before year 8 regional reef production will generate sufficient extra income to support this
Activity C: The CDR XPrize requires a one kiloton/year demonstration to quantify and certify the net
CDR. An AFEcosystem employing Seaweed-Shellfish-Finfish CDR (SSF CDR) will need about 30-ha
of built-reef substrate, nutrients from about 30,000 people, sensors, and skilled researcher labor. A
laboratory demonstration with clean seawater flowing through tanks, and sophisticated sensors, is a
cost- and time- effective way to prove that we can establish the conditions for reliable net SSF CDR.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 69
Logic Framework - Science Enables Aquatic Foods (SEAFoods) with Healthy Oceans
Logic hierarchy
Verifiable indicators
Means of verification
Goal 1: Most
people in each
quality of life.
Percentage of households
reporting improved quality
of life as measured by
income, health, education
opportunity, and happiness
Household and health clinic
surveys in each community,
initially annually.
Data Source: surveys analogous
People spend
additional income
in ways that
increase personal
and community
Goal 2: Ocean
health, and
improve near
For the areas within 1-km of
new no-take reservoirs and
built-reef ecosystems:
biodiversity and biomass
both double within 5 years
of no-take establishment
and/or built-reef
Ocean observation.
Data Source: ocean observation
sensors, scientists, and citizen-
scientist fishing/touring people
Combination of no-
take reservoirs and
biodiversity and
Objective (SO
1.1): Coastal
increase their
Increased seafood
production by 50
kg/yr/community member
within 5 years of joining the
network of communities.
Observation of and by fish
markets and fishing people.
Data source: community digital
data collection, pre-2019
records/estimates for baseline
Local and global
paying markets are
able to utilize the
increased seafood
SO 1.2: Coastal
increase their
seafood pro-
duction value
per kg. (Value
includes both
health effects
and $/kg.)
Local health effects/kg
improves 20%.
Exported $/kg doubles.
Both within 5 years of
Observation of and by fish
markets and fish samples.
Data source: laboratory and
sensor analysis, community
digital data collection
Local seafood
replacing less
healthy imported
processed food has
beneficial health
Export markets are
feasible and
SO 1.3: Coastal
quantity and
value for
Maintained SO 1.1 and 1.2
seafood production quantity
and value.
5-yr rolling average.
Observation of and by fish
markets and fishing people.
Data source: community digital
data collection
Science (computer
models), local
innovations, and
networking identify
adjustments to
deal with climate
and other changes.
Contents Consolidated SEAFoods with Healthy Oceans Programme 70
SO 1.4: Coastal
maintenance of
resources is
funding self-
sufficient for
Within 3 years of operations
starting, 70% of communities
are generating sufficient
profits from their ocean
resources to fund continued
science and whole-
community quality of life
improvements for decades.
Fiscal management
Data Source: transparent
accounting combined with data
from other strategic objectives
and activities.
The increased
seafood production
does not exceed
paying demand
locally or globally.
SO 1.5:
Combined no-
take reserves
and built-reef
ecosystems are
profitable that
they attract
bank and
Within 3 years of operations
starting, 50% of communities
are generating sufficient
profits from their ocean
resources to attract bank
and investor funding for
Fiscal management
Data Source: transpar