German Pilot Team welcomes Project Partner from University of Ghent / Informal Pilot Meeting at Kiel Marine Farm

During her short stay, Jessica got the opportunity to visit the Kiel Marine Farm, nearshore site of the German Pilot, where Dr. Tim Staufenberger (CEO of Kiel Marine Farm) presented the current biofouling trials, which are one part of the UNITED project. So far, having only met in virtual meetings, the project partners enjoyed the face-to-face meeting opportunity to exchange ideas and casually catching up on recent project developments.

The purpose of the visit was to exchange regarding the optimum choice of seaweed substrate (net types, net material) for the different locations. The team had a look at the different materials available and used in Kiel and discussed the different seaweed seeding techniques. The key question was how to push the idea to set up a seaweed seeding experiment across the three pilots? 

The team had a close look at the biofouling tests currently running at the German nearshore site: testing different methods to prevent biofouling of sensors, equipment in order to minimize maintaining effort offshore and talked about possible commercialization comparing the recent upscale of the commercial mussel farm of KMF with options for pilots in UNITED. 

 “Meeting in person has become such a rare occasion over the past 18 months, that we all appreciated Jessica’s visit. It makes conversations much more pleasant and in a way more fruitful, because you have the opportunity to address other topics, aside from what might have been listed on an agenda. There is much more room for small talk, which often opens up unforeseen possibilities and chances leading to new ideas,” says Eva Strothotte (German Pilot lead). 

The next step of the German and Belgian Pilot alignment foresees a common offshore seaweed trial, where the environmental influence on the biomass growth will be examined at different locations in the North Sea. All partners hope, that this was not the last personal meeting. 

Figure 1: Tim Staufenberger, Eva Strothotte and Jessica Knoop at the nearshore site of the German Pilot. Black flags and buoys marking the mussel longlines.

Figure 2 & 3: Presentation of biofouling trial at Kiel Marine Farm.