New Brunswick

Grand Manan produces dulse for the world

Atlantic Mariculture harvests dulse, a wild sea vegetable resembling lettuce, and ships it to Europe, Australia and the United States.

Roughly 1 million pounds of wet dulse is harvested from Grand Manan's Dark Harbour annually

Dulse is hand harvested off the coast of Grand Manan Island. The cliffs, cold water and minimal sunlight make for optimal growing conditions for the salty treat. (Atlantic Mariculture)

A Grand Manan company has been making certified organic sea treats for over 20 years.

Atlantic Mariculture harvests dulse, a wild sea vegetable resembling lettuce, and ships it to Europe, Australia and the United States.

Atlantic Mariculture's Jayne Turner says the market for dulse is expanding for culinary delights and nutraceuticals.

"In a good year, there's about a million pounds of wet weight dulse that would be collected on Grand Manan," said general manager and Grand Manan native, Jane Turner.

Turner said the island is ideal for harvesting dulse because of its rockiness and optimal shade.

"With the cliffs, the shade that is provided allows it to not be be sun burnt or sun damaged in any way and it seems to be the best possible environment for getting this really top quality good eating dulse."

"Our finest quality dulse is the dulse that comes from Dark Harbour, the whole western side of the island."

The company received organic status in 1993 because of how it collects the product and how it treats the natural environment.

"It's hand-harvested, always is. It's about treating the resources with respect, as something that you want to be there for a very long time. It makes good business sense as well as environmental sense."

Once the dulse is picked, it is then sent to the beach spreading ground where it is sun-dried.

"We don't use weed killers or salt to kill weeds," said Turner. "We don't use any chemicals at all."

Turner harvested dulse when she was young living on the island. She says eating it fresh is the best way to enjoy it.

"When they bring it in sometimes, I'll just go take a handful because I absolutely love it ... I like it as soon as it comes in from the drying field."

Dulse contains high amounts of iodine which helps to avoid any radiation uptake. The milled dulse products are big sellers for the company on the west coast and much of it is sold to California.

"It's so nice to know something you love is also something that's good for you," said Turner.

"Its an identifier, we feel like it's part of what our island is and who we are so deeply ingrained, so many generations have done this have harvested it, it's important.


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