Fund managers start ball rolling on large-scale kelp farm off Namibian coast

2nd November 2020 By: Marleny Arnoldi - Creamer Media Online Writer

Fund managers start ball rolling on large-scale kelp farm off Namibian coast

Kelp Blue kelp farm

Fund management firm Climate Fund Managers’ Climate Investor Two Fund has partnered with Namibia Infrastructure Development and Investment Fund (Nidif), managed by Namibian private equity fund manager Eos Capital, and Kelp Blue for the commercial development of the world’s first large-scale kelp farm.

The farm will require a $60-million investment over a five-year period, which will be funded by both international and Namibian sources through the investor funds, pending approvals.

Netherlands-headquartered offshore floating aquaculture company Kelp Blue’s role will include helping to secure the necessary Namibian regulatory approvals and liaising closely with local authorities.

Kelp Blue will cultivate giant kelp in nutrient-rich waters 3 km to 10 km off the coast of Namibia, near Lüderitz. The seaweed canopy will be sustainably harvested to produce alternative agri-food, biostimulant and textile products.

Kelp is a fast-growing seaweed and has the ability to sequester more carbon dioxide than terrestrial forests, while boosting marine biodiversity and improving fish stocks and generating additional ecological benefits, including counteracting ocean acidification and de-oxygenation.

Kelp Blue’s business model will add value across the entire kelp value-chain. The introduction of offshore engineering innovations and novel processing technologies will reduce overheads and increase scalable process efficiencies.

Economic development will be promoted through the creation of value-added products in Namibia for local consumption and export. Kelp Blue will also create employment opportunities in coastal communities and contribute to economic growth in outlying areas.

Kelp Blue is directly aligned with the goals of the Climate Investor Two facility as it offers a viable alternative to existing water and waste management practices and current approaches to ocean system management. It is also aligned with Eos Capital and Nidif’s shared mission of contributing to the growth of the Namibian economy.

The business will further contribute to Namibia’s attainment of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal Number 14: Life below water through the creation of marine ecosystems.

“We are proud to partner with Kelp Blue in its efforts to accelerate marine biodiversity resilience. As one of the early investments under the Climate Investor Two financing facility, this partnership speaks to our commitment to supporting the health and productivity of our blue planet.

“Kelp Blue has the potential to improve aquatic biodiversity, contribute to effective fisheries management and provides alternative revenue streams for coastal economies,” says Climate Fund Managers CEO Andrew Johnstone.

Eos Capital managing partner Nicole Maske says that, in addition to the positive impact on the ocean and fish stocks, this is an exciting opportunity to add to the infrastructure and growth of Lüderitz, thereby enhancing prospects for the local community and to secure inward investment into Namibia on an environmentally responsible basis.

“We  look  forward to repaying the confidence that Climate Fund Managers and Eos Capital have placed in us by ensuring the success of this project, creating meaningful employment opportunities in Namibia and making a valuable contribution to the integrity and viability of ocean ecosystems,” adds Kelp Blue founder Daniel Hooft.