The state's first commercial seaweed farm, run by the Thimble Island Oyster Co., is also awaiting approval from state health and consumer protection officials to start selling its product.
All these products need to be tested to make sure the harvested seaweed that's taking so much nitrogen out of the Sound's waters isn't also being contaminated by other pollutants. State officials don't believe that's going to happen, since the seaweed being grown now is from plots near state-approved shellfish beds that have no contamination issues.
"We made the conclusion several years ago that seaweed is a great opportunity… in several different areas," says David Carey, director of Connecticut's Bureau of Aquaculture.
Seaweed farming is a huge global business, generating more than $7 billion a year, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The plan in Connecticut is to get the Thimble Island operation licensed and the Bridgeport aquaculture school approved for processing as much as half of the farm's seaweed for sale.
Carey and other officials see this as a winning proposition for everybody: it can offer jobs and cash for hard-pressed shell fishermen who take to growing seaweed near their beds; it helps clean up the Sound, which improves things for recreational fishermen and everybody else who enjoys the water; and those farming licenses and sales can produce revenue for the state.
There are even plans to get the commercial raising of mussels (which are also raised attached to lines in the same sort of system as seaweed) going in Connecticut waters in combination with the kelp farming.
All those 150-foot long lines of seaweed, of course, could pose problems for boaters and fishermen. But Carey doesn't think that's going to be an issue.
"Those small farms could fit in a lot of places in Long Island Sound without conflicts," says Carey.
So all you locavore/health nuts out there, listen up: It won't be too long now until you can go to your local sushi dive or seafood spot or veggie hangout and order up some locally grown kelp for your dinner.