Vertical Ocean Farming Creates Healthy Ecosystems

GreenWave’s vertical ocean farming systems assist ocean farmers in producing healthy and local foods, while capturing carbon and providing a source for biofuel.

GreenWave has created a system for vertical ocean farming, where seaweed, scallops, and mussels grow on floating ropes, stacked above oyster and clam cages below. The ocean farms are systems of underwater vertical gardens, able to grow 10 to 30 tons of sea vegetables and 250,000 shellfish on each acre per year. From these crops, food, fertilizer, animal feed, and sustainable biofuels are produced. According to the company, the kelp produced absorbs five times more carbon than land-based plants, and the crops do not require any fertilizers, fresh water, antibiotics, or pesticides.

Rather than growing vulnerable monocultures, this approach creates biodiverse ecosystems using the entire water column in production. With a replicable model enabling those with a boat and $20,000 in start-up costs to start their own farm, GreenWave has partnered with farmers to create a total of eight farms in a two-year period.

Relevance of solution

Nearly 40% of the world’s oceans are severely affected by human activities, resulting in pollution, exhausted fisheries, and loss of coastal habitats.1 Designed to restore rather than deplete ocean ecosystems, GreenWave’s ocean farms increase biodiversity and restoration in areas where ecosystems are suffering, if not completely depleted.

Triple Bottom Line


Marine species absorb five times more carbon than land-based plants and sequester excess nitrogen.


GreenWave provides its Farm Startup and Apprenticeships Programs at no charge to new farmers in an effort to help them secure jobs in the emerging blue-green economy.


Farmers receive guaranteed purchasing of 80% of their crops at triple the market rate for the first five years, according to GreenWave.


  1. UN. “Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources”. (Undated)