Ocean Veg Ireland are growing kelp just off Church Bay in Rathlin Island. Rathlin is synonymous with clean, cold waters due to the mix of Irish Sea and Atlantic currents. This makes it ideal for growing and harvesting of Kelp forests.
The McFaul family are well known for their commitment to the environment. Benji’s father and brother won Northern Ireland organic farmers of the year in 2010 and their fishing and seafood business is carried out to responsible harvesting standards - this ethos continues with Ocean Veg Ireland.
Benji's is a qualified skipper with over 13 years experience in the industry. He is committed to sustainable fishing practice, and keeps in regular contact with the NI Environment Agency as efforts to protect the special marine environment around Rathlin take shape.
Benji looks after at sea operations, the setting of ropes, monitoring and recording growth, harvesting, safety at sea and maintenance of the Unit where the kelp is processed.
Kate Burns Bsc.Hons., Msc.RD, Dip CDP., is Managing Director of Islander Kelp. Kate spend most of her younger life on Rathlin Island and raised a family there. Now they are working with her producing and processing Islander Kelp. Kate has been involved in rural and marine development for many years, running her own consultancy from 2007 to 2013. During this time she prepared coastal community plans for all of the Rep. Of Ireland for the irish seafood Board.
She was contracted to the Gulf of Maine Research Institute as Director of Community initiatives from 2010 to 2012, helping establish programmes to assist the fishing and seafood industries deal with change and become sustainable. Between 2008 and 2010 Kate was contracted to the Cyprus government to devise a planning framework in preparation of the possible reunification of the island. Prior to 2007 Kate was Chief Executive of the cross border local authority organization ICBAN covering the north west of the island of Ireland tasked with implementing cross border EU Programs. Kate came to the ICBAN position from seven years in a local authority position in Northern Ireland where she headed up the Economic Development Program. During this time, she carried out other international assignments including work in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in preparation for accession to the European Union. Prior to 1994 Kate lived on Rathlin Island where she ran a regeneration program as well as her own restaurant and interpretive tours business.