nikki wynn sea farming


On our sail to New Zealand, I envisioned all sorts of things we would see.  Dairy farms, sheep, hobbits, and of course glowworms.  But sea farming wasn’t even on my radar.  That is until the skipper of one of the local mussel boats reached out.

Turns out mussel farming is a booming business worldwide and in New Zealand, they are scooping up more than 320 million dollars a year.

The world’s population is growing, and we need to produce more food.  But we’re running out of land to farm and the land we are using is degrading faster than it can recover.  But there is a type of sea farming that could be the future of a lot of our food.

So, we’re swapping out boat life to have a crack at being sea farmers.  Also because this is probably as close as we’ll ever get to being on Deadliest Catch.

Well, what do you think?  Could we hack it?  Maybe on a small scale?

Huge thanks to Chris and the crew of Untouchable for making us feel like part of the team for a day. (And a little behind-the-scenes secret: They started at 5 am, but were kind enough to swing by at 7 to pick us up🙏🏻).  If you want to taste the fruits of their labor then pick up some Green-Lipped Mussels.  They’re endemic to New Zealand and exported all around the world.  They make an excellent Cioppino stew (especially with fresh oysters and snapper).

Become A Sea Farmer

I have done a lot of digging into farming shellfish and kelp and it is a seriously underutilized market! I can’t say we’re gonna run out and start our first ocean farm tomorrow, but it is appealing.

I found a nonprofit organization called GreenWave which has an incredible and affordable program that helps people get into the business.  They train and support ocean farmers and work with coastal communities around the world.

The founder has a great story, and the website is worth checking out just for some fun facts on shellfish and seaweed:

regenerative ocean farming  greenwave ocean farming

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Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (17)

  • Jeffrey Stenberg

    So fascinating, very fun to watch. That was as good as any show one might watch on National Geographic etc… , very professional and interesting. Sounds like you have many fans out there which allowed you to get this invite and us to learn and enjoy from, so cool. Thank you. I’m now sharing with my wife and we both now enjoy your videos. I think I’ve been watching for a least 7 years or more. Look forward to your future endeavors, Farmers Rock !!!

  • Don

    Excellent Video . You always do a great job

  • Leonardo D Mangiaracina

    Outstanding video. Great job guys. Love it. Keep the good work.

  • Alan Solomon

    That was different to see. I like stormy weather but not sure if my stomach could hold its own out in the open ocean tossing and turning for 12 hours. Whoa.
    I have had mussels before. The taste was great. A lot of butter, I think.
    After eating mussels, the thing that I remember was the consistency when biting into and chewing a mussel.
    As usual awesome and terrific video in every way.
    Thank you, Happy and Joyous.

  • John McConnell

    Loved the mussel farming video. Thank you for sharing your experiences. You to have a wonderful sense of videography and framing for interest.

  • mary van

    That was really interesting! I can’t imagine being out there for 12 hours when it is cold and stormy. Glad that you all were able to enjoy it on a nice day!

  • YDion

    Wow, so informative ! Thanks very much!!!

  • Craig

    You guys are living the dream, I enjoy your weekly episodes. Branson Missouri

  • Pat

    That was very interesting and I guess delicious…..

  • MarkByron

    Thanks! Amazing and informative video. I love muscles and mostly order in restaurants. I’ll remember your visit to the farms in NZ from now on!😋

  • Lisa M

    Sooo much fun to watch! Thank you

  • Louanna

    You are both so lucky to have these great adventures. I love the video.

  • Betty Hurd

    Love the video, I learned so much, love my mussels even more now, It is amazing all the work that goes into farming them. We’re going out this week on East Bay In Pensacola, Florida to see the new oyster reefs that a partnership with the Florida Nature Conservancy is co-sponsoring. This was a great intro to this aquaculture. Thanks again

  • John S.

    That was fun to watch.

  • Maradel

    The first thing I wondered when seeing the array of ropes and buoys in the open sea = what about whales, dolphins, turtles, other sea creatures getting entangled in this maze of ropes? That array covers a lot of territory and could be a trap for some animals.

    My second issue = since the mussels filter everything that is in the sea water, that means they are taking in whatever toxics might be in the water. Some of those toxics are persistent organic compounds (PCBs, PBDE) and heavy metals which are not anything that people should be eating. Does this company test for these things, or only for things like e-coli?

    • Curious Minion

      Not sure about the entanglements, but aquaculture equipment and farming is usually regulated by appropriate agencies to minimize the risk to sealife. I’m sure a quick Google search would yield some good information. It also sounds like these guys are out there patrolling the lines every day, which would also minimize risk.

      As for toxicity, Nikki answered that on a YouTube comment, so I’ll just paste her answer here:
      Farmed mussels are put through rigorous testing to ensure they are safe for consumption. The are an incredibly healthy protein with medicinal benefits as well.

      Curious Minion

      • Maradel

        It would be interesting to know what New Zealand requires to be tested for in the shellfish. In my state of Washington in the US, the Department of Health tests for biotoxins and coliform bacteria, but not for things such as PBDEs, PAHs, other persistent organic pollutants and heavy metals (cadmium, lead). Yet we know from ongoing studies that these pollutants are present in the bodies of mussels raised in our local waters. After learning what these shellfish in-filter and retain in their bodies, I stopped eating oysters, mussels and clams.


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