KALY are a group of entrepreneurs, seafarers and nature-lovers on a journey of discovery. We are united by a common belief that cultivating kelp can provide benefits to the marine environment, local communities and humanity.
KALY believe viable contributions exist through the cultivation of kelp to combat universal concerns: climate change, biodiversity loss, declining rural communities, unsustainable arable food production and the widespread use of fertiliser, plastics and chemicals harmful to nature.
At KALY we will promote and share the benefits of farming kelp with local communities. We believe in a more holistic approach to working the sea through protection, restoration, and marine conservation. Our journey will make a positive contribution to existing communities.
KALY believe seaweed farming can be introduced throughout the west coast of Scotland. An incremental approach will build knowledge, confidence and momentum towards our vision. The journey will test best practices in seaweed farming, community empowerment and scientifically measure the environmental benefits we bring to the Scottish marine environment.
Commercial viability is at the core of our vision. To be a sustainable industry, many strands of the production and processing chain must come together. Companies making useful products from seaweed require a continuous supply of stabilised, high-quality biomass throughout the year. KALY can flourish by providing this continuous supply, supporting an integrated value chain from growing to end-market products.
Our journey will be taken in partnership with local fishermen whose livelihoods and identity are linked to the sea.
Fishing and seaweed farming are complementary. They require similar skills and knowledge of the sea to be successful. Both are cyclical but peak at different times of the year. Kelp farming and creel fishing provide an anchor for many other marine benefits. When combined with other loch users a potential framework for loch stewardship must be possible.
Protection, conservation, and enhancement of the oceans and our coasts can deliver environmental, economic and community benefits: water quality improvements, fish nursery habitats, lobster hatcheries, multi-trophic aquaculture and data collection can all act as a catalyst for community-based environmental projects. Our challenge is to bring these together through a shared passion for our seas and lochs.
Kaly Group originated from forced lockdown and chance. The pandemic gave time to reflect, time to review circumstances and time to hope for the future. Bruce Hare, an architect, developer and entrepreneur with decades of business building experience was confined to a new paradigm. Like everyone, he had no idea how long the confinement would last, no idea of what lay ahead and for the first time in his career no idea what tomorrow might bring. Bruce was open to inspiration.
By chance, an article related to work the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) carried out on seaweed cultivation near Oban triggered intrigue. Further research into the versatility and unique properties of seaweed sparked an idea. Could kelp be grown alongside creel fishing to supplement income?
The fascination continued until there was freedom to move to his house on Skye. The idea of farming kelp developed in discussion with local lobster fisherman and friend Iain Matheson. Both became engrossed in the potential of growing kelp and the positive impacts it could have within Loch Bay and on the Waternish community.
A second but defining chance – Bren Smith’s book ‘Eat Like a Fish’ was in Matheson’s array of charts. Consumed cover to cover in one sitting inspired a business concept. Lockdowns proved the ideal setting for connections to be made and a business plan to be developed. KALY’s team expanded quickly to nine multi-disciplined members – fisherman, photographer, designer, scientist, community liaison, financier, systems analyst, accountant and developer.
Remote working suits KALY team members. We are geographically spread throughout the UK but have a permanent base in a converted Thomas Telford church and manse on Waternish in northwest Skye. The location is idyllic, with panoramic views overlooking our proposed first farm site.
The journey began in earnest in November 2022 when TriCapital Angel Investors, supported by Scottish Enterprise, put their faith in the KALY kelp team with an initial seed investment. We move forward with confidence. The journey ahead will be challenging. Pioneering spirit and total belief in our vision and values drives us forward.