Bioeconomic analysis of giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera cultivation (Laminariales; Phaeophyceae) in northern Chile

Sergio Zuniga-Jara, María Cristina Marín-Riffo, Cristian Bulboa-Contador

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


This study analyzed the economic feasibility of offshore commercial cultivation of Macrocystis pyrifera in northern Chile. To achieve this objective, a continuous-time model including biological, technological, and economic aspects was developed. To implement this model, the biomass growth until marketable size is reached was estimated for three periods of the year. A periodic system of cultivation and harvesting is described, and the main investments, operation costs, remunerations, and operational costs of cultivation and harvesting are defined. The results of the baseline model show that cultivation is not profitable in the long term considering the selling price and the harvest yield. Additionally, at baseline, the revenue is unable to cover the investment costs or the operation costs. However, in a scenario in which productivity is 211 % higher than the base harvest and prices are 25 % higher, cultivation becomes profitable, with positive net present values (NPV) after 14 years. Despite the aforementioned considerations, the opportunity for generating greater value from this type of cultivation is discussed, taking into account its characteristics as units that provide ecosystem services, which is a feature that is starting to be discussed in relation to marine environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-416
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Applied Phycology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • Bioeconomic model
  • Chile
  • Culture
  • Kelp
  • Macrocystis pyrifera

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science


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