Aquaculture News

COASTAL ENTREPRENEURS CONTINUE TO RAMP UP MAINE’S PRODUCTION OF KELP

Maine Public, 7/27/21 – “Coastal entrepreneurs continue to ramp up Maine’s production of kelp, and a processor that’s seeded the young sector’s growth is responding by opening a 27,000 square foot plant in Biddeford. Atlantic Sea Farms CEO Briana Warner says that in the last two seasons, the 24 farmers who supply kelp to the company have increased their landings by 12,000%, to roughly 700,000 pounds of seaweed this year. Most of them are lobstermen who own their own boats, looking for off-season income. ‘So our partner farmers constitute around 95 percent of all the seaweed that’s grown in the state of Maine, and over 80 percent of what’s grown in the entire United States. So what that means is that fishermen are the ones who are singlehandedly growing the kelp industry in the United States, and they’re fishermen from Maine,’ Warner says.”

UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIP? THE STORY OF EELGRASS AND OYSTERS

Bowdoin College, 7/27/21 – “Scientists at Bowdoin are running experiments this summer to see whether oyster farming, contrary to current thinking, can be good for eelgrass—and vice versa. The implications for Maine’s burgeoning oyster aquaculture industry, and for other fisheries, could be significant [. . .] The two biology majors are working with three Bowdoin faculty—Katie DuBois ’11, Bowdoin’s current Doherty Marine Biology Postdoctoral Scholar; Dave Carlon, director of the Schiller Coastal Studies Center; and Justin Baumann, visiting professor of biology. DuBois is a seagrass specialist, while Carlon and Bauman are knowledgeable about marine invertebrates, experimental design, and ocean acidification. The team has also partnered with a neighboring oyster farmer, Pat Scanlan of Snow Island Oysters, who provided support for the research through his nonprofit Quahog Bay Conservancy.”

YOUR LOVE FOR FRESH OYSTERS CAN HELP THE PLANET

National Geographic Travel, 7/26/21 – “Oyster farm tours, like this one led by Love Point Oysters, and self-guided bi-valve trails are cropping up throughout the United States. COVID-19 stalled the trend but with travel restrictions loosening, oyster enthusiasts are once again back on track. Along the Maine Oyster Trail, which re-launched in June, tasting tourists can earn swag by “checking in” at various experiences and sites along the trail, including Love Point. Other trails can be found in Louisiana, Virginia, North Carolina, and Washington, the country’s largest producer of aquaculture.”

SOARING SEAWEED DEMAND DRIVES YORK COUNTY FOOD PROCESSOR TO QUADRUPLE ITS SPACE

MaineBiz, 7/26/21 – “Driven by growing product demand, a York County food processor of farmed seaweed is about to move into space four times the size of its current digs. Atlantic Sea Farms recently leased 27,800 square feet of industrial space at 20 Pomerleau St. in Biddeford from Westfield Inc. Greg Hastings and Sam LeGeyt from NAI The Dunham Group and Mike Cobb and Robert Tragemann from Colliers’ Maine office brokered the deal. Atlantic Sea Farms, which makes a variety of food items from a common Maine seaweed, kelp, is currently in an industrial facility of about 7,000 square feet at 89 Industrial Park Road in Saco.”

JOIN THE STARS AS MAINE OUTDOOR FILM FESTIVAL SCREENS 66 FILMS OVER 11 NIGHTS

Portland Press Herald, 7/26/21 – “Just as the 24th Maine International Film Festival closes out its yearly parade of fine films and filmmakers visiting the state, the 10th annual Maine Outdoor Film Festival is taking over Portland (or at least the Eastern Prom). ‘The Sea Farmers,’ from Portland filmmakers Nathan Golon and Emilie Silvestri of GoodFight Media, follows two Maine women working to break into the tough but lucrative aquaculture trade (farming oysters, in their case). Says Callanan of the world premiere short (showing in the Sheepscot Program on Aug. 7).”

$1 MILLION FIELD STATION WILL GIVE SCIENTISTS NEW RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES OFF THE MAINE COAST

Bangor Daily News, 7/25/21 – “The Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership has broken ground on a $1 million field research station that will allow scientists — and visiting students — to conduct an array of offshore research, including research relating to climate change and fisheries. The facility will be the first of its kind in Penobscot Bay. Through it, students participating in Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership programming can get a firsthand look at what it’s like to try to understand and seek answers to some of the most pressing challenges facing the globe.”

LOCAL SEA FARMERS ADD OYSTERS TO ROSTER

Ellsworth American, 7/7/21 – “A local leader in mussel farming and a pioneer in Maine’s young scallop industry has branched out to another species. The de Koning family, which runs the Bar Harbor-based Acadia Aqua Farms, has taken over management of Warren Pettegrow’s 50-acre oyster farm in Goose Cove. The de Konings have a mussel farm in Frenchman Bay and have recently started experimenting with growing scallops. Pettegrow, who owns the Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound, has been spread thin and asked the family if they were interested in taking over the farm, where he grows his Cadillac oysters, said Fiona de Koning, a co-owner and head of operations and sales for Acadia Aqua Farms.”

DOCK & DINE SEASON 2, EPISODE 4, featuring the maine oyster trail & others

Maine Life Media, 7/5/21 – “Paul’s Marina & Judy’s General Store, Seacoast Tours of Freeport, Maine Oyster Trail, Mere Point Oysters.” Check out the episode on YouTube. The oyster segment starts at minute 15:00

LISBON AQUAPONICS FARM EXPANSION COULD PUMP OUT 20 MILLION HEADS OF LETTUCE PER YEAR

Times Record, 6/30/21 – “Trevor Kenkel bought his first aquaponic farming setup — a tank, five goldish and some lettuce seedlings — around age 13 in his home state of Montana. At that time, he said, salad was far from his favorite meal. ‘Growing up in Montana you’re on like the end of the distribution chain,’ Kenkel said. ‘So, whatever we were getting for greens were not good.’ At 19, right before starting at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Kenkel launched his aquaponic farming business, Springworks Farm, based in Lisbon. Now, at 26, producing over one million heads of lettuce a year, Kenkel said that salad is, in fact, his favorite meal — so long as it’s fresh. In April, Springworks Farm announced plans to expand its operation in Lisbon from roughly 18,000 square feet to 500,000 square feet by 2026.”

DUTCH AQUACULTURE COMPANY GETS DEP PERMIT FOR JONESPORT FACILITY

Mainebiz, 6/28/21 – “Kingfish Maine, a Dutch operator of land-based aquaculture systems, has received a critical green light from the Department of Environmental Protection to build a facility in Jonesport. The state agency approved the company’s application for a Maine Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit, according to a news release Monday. Kingfish Maine is owned by the Kingfish Co., which operates a land-based recirculating aquaculture system under the name Kingfish Zeeland in the Netherlands. In November 2019, Kingfish Zeeland announced plans for a proposed $110 million land-based aquaculture facility in Jonesport, and since then has secured funding for the plant.”

AFTER A TOUGH YEAR, OYSTER DEMAND GROWS

Mount Desert Islander, 6/28/21 – “To help put oysters on the map, the Maine Sea Grant and Maine Aquaculture Association created the Maine Oyster Trail – a new program and website partially born out of the pandemic that helps connect visitors with the state’s different growers, raw bars and oyster farm tour options.  The trail and its website launched earlier this month and is modeled after the Maine Beer Trail. Visitors can search for farms up and down the coast, see which offer tours and direct order from them. The new website has a trip planner as well, making it simple for people to build an itinerary.  ‘What we are really trying to do is make it easy and accessible,’ Hupper said. ‘We think the model is going to be a really big success.’ Anne Langston Noll, the owner of  Pemetic Sea Farms, an oyster farm based in Ellsworth, already had a tour booked within a few days of the website launch. ”

YOU CAN GET A TASTE OF MAINE THIS SUMMER WITHOUT SPENDING $34 ON A LOBSTER ROLL

Bangor Daily News, 6/18/21 – “Lobster rolls are perhaps the most iconic Maine summer treat. This year, though, lobster rolls are exceptionally expensive due to high demand, with some seafood shacks selling the rolls for $34 a piece. Though lobster rolls are delicious, there are many more ways you can get a taste of Maine this summer without breaking the bank [. . .] A Maine seafood delicacy that is on the rise is oysters, Nancy Harmon Jenkins said.  The Maine Aquaculture Association recently launched the Maine Oyster Trail to highlight the variety and quality of oysters throughout the state.”

THE WRAP: NEW RESTAURANTS FOR GOLFERS, CLEAN EATERS

Portland Press Herald, 6/16/21 – “The Maine Oyster Trail relaunched on Monday after a makeover. Inspired by the Maine Beer Trail, the oyster trail has a new website (maineoystertrail.com), new interactive components, and a new incentive system so you can reward yourself for eating oysters. An online trip planner allows you to customize your ‘oyster experience,’ choosing from activities such as oyster farm tours and visits to raw bars or mobile shuck trucks in coastal regions of Maine. ‘You can filter those experiences based on different criteria and send yourself an itinerary,’ says Afton Hupper of the Maine Aquaculture Association.”

MAINE OYSTER TRAIL SHOWCASES STATE’S GROWING OYSTER INDUSTRY

WMTW 8, 6/14/21 – “A new website that launched on Monday is showcasing the state’s growing oyster industry. The Maine Oyster Trail takes oyster lovers from Ogunquit to Sorrento. Love Point Oysters is one of 150 oyster farms dotting the Maine coast and one of the dozens that are now part of the Maine Oyster Trail. ‘It takes roughly two years to get this oyster to market, so any opportunity we have to share two years of labor with somebody, we quite enjoy that,’ Love Point Oysters owner Ben Hamilton said. The idea for the oyster trail was born during the pandemic when oyster sales to restaurants plummeted.”

OFFICIALS HELP PREVENT A PRIME SHELLFISH HARVESTING LOCATION AFTER A BOAT SANK IN FRENCHMAN BAY

News Center Maine, 6/1/21 – “The ship sank shortly after it launched and was leaking diesel fuel into the bay. The area was closed to shellfish harvesting in fear of diesel contamination.” 

‘NEW MAINERS’ ARE KEY TO SEAFOOD INDUSTRY

The Working Waterfront, 5/26/21 – “Welcoming immigrants to Maine is more than just the polite, hospitable thing to do. It’s critical to the state’s economic future. That’s the view of the authors of Maine’s community development strategy for 2020-2029, who assert that the state will lose 65,000 workers to retirement by 2029 and that to remain economically viable, some 75,000 new workers must be added. ‘The longer the state doesn’t take affirmative steps to try to attract more people from other states and other countries, the more dire our workforce shortage is becoming,’ said Beth Stickney, who has worked as an immigration lawyer for 35 years and founded the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project and the Maine Business Immigration Coalition.”

$34 FOR A LOBSTER ROLL? TODAY’S HIGH PRICES DRIVEN BY CONSUMER BUYING HABITS DURING PANDEMIC

Maine Public, 5/21/21 – “Maine seafood prices are experiencing a post-pandemic bump that could persist into the future, a potential bright side to the market dislocations Covid-19 brought to the industry. A month ago it was headline news when the iconic Wiscasset lobster shack, Red’s Eats, opened for the season with no lobster on hand. Today, there is lobster to be had – but hold onto your napkin: a lobster roll there cost $34 this week. And the story is the same farther off the beaten path. Gary Blackman Sr. and his wife have been running Karen’s Hideaway lobster shack in Boothbay for two decades.”

UNE researchers studying food safety aspects of edible seaweed

University of New England, 5/21/21 – “Most food harvested from the sea is contaminated by some level of pathogenic bacteria, and edible seaweed is no exception. What level of pathogens are found on edible seaweed and what can be done to keep levels low are the focus of a study now underway involving researchers and students at UNE. ‘Edible seaweed, including sugar kelp, is really a burgeoning industry in Maine,’ explained Kristin Burkholder, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences.”

UNH SCIENTISTS AIM TO SOLVE A MILLION DOLLAR PROBLEM FOR AQUACULTURE INDUSTRY

UNH Today, 5/20/21 – “A pesky little jellyfish-like animal is causing major problems—and major costs—for aquaculture everywhere by choosing to permanently live on aquafarming equipment, reducing production sustainability. However, new research from the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station in the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture sheds light on possible ways to dissuade these animals at early, larval stage from calling aquaculture production systems home.”

RESTORATIVE AQUACULTURE: HOW WWF IS CHARTING A PATH FOR GLOBAL SEAWEED GROWTH

The Fish Site, 5/17/21 – “The global seaweed aquaculture sector should aim to grow by 12 percent a year – helped by a marked production increase in northern oceans – according to Bailey Moritz, program officer for seaweed and shellfish projects for the US national office of World Wildlife Fund (WWF). ‘Before joining WWF I was managing a commercial seaweed nursery in Maine, while finishing up my graduate studies in ocean food systems. While at the University of New England, I worked with a group of women seaweed farmers in Belize on product development. My current role is a great fit because I get to support an incredible group of farmers, researchers, scientists and entrepreneurs advancing the seaweed industry in a thoughtful, sustainable way.'”

PANDEMIC-HIT OYSTER FARMERS IN MAINE TAKE PART IN OYSTER CONSERVATION PROGRAM

Portland Press Herald, 5/13/21 – “When the pandemic struck last year, oyster farmer Chris Burtis soon realized the restaurants that bought his oysters had mostly closed. Without a new market, his Ferda Farms faced potential economic ruin. Then, Burtis heard The Nature Conservancy in partnership with The Pew Charitable Trusts was buying millions of bivalves around the country for rebuilding decimated oyster reefs — and he quickly joined the effort. One recent day, he pulled up cages packed with eastern oysters on the New Meadows River in Brunswick, Maine, readying them to be trucked to oyster reefs on a patch of New Hampshire’s Great Bay.”

CAN JAPANESE TECH HELP SCALLOP FARMING HIT IT BIG IN MAINE?

Maine Magazine, 5/13/21 – “Until recently, scallops were barely an afterthought in Maine shellfish aquaculture, overshadowed by the success of oysters and mussels. But, in theory, there’s money to be had in scallops — the wild scallop fishery is perennially lucrative even though it’s often curtailed by emergency closures to protect at-risk populations. ‘I think scallop farming has the potential to save the working waterfront,’ says Alex de Koning, whose family started farming mussels in the Netherlands in the 1700s and who manages production at Hollander and de Koning Mussel Processors, in Trenton. With fishing of all varieties under constant and evolving threat from climate change and other stresses, he adds, Maine’s seafood economy will need more than just lobsters, oysters, and mussels to keep fishermen working in the future.”

THE NAUTICAL FARMERS

Patagonia, 5/7/21 – “In 2016, shortly after moving on a whim to Denver, Colorado, from their home state of Maine, Morgan-Lea Fogg and her fiancé Jake Patryn got really excited about kelp. Through her work as a community manager at Summit, an organization that connects the next generation of leaders and global thinkers, Morgan was introduced to the concept of kelp farming and kelp-based foods and its potential to help stop climate change. She was hooked. She devoured everything she could about conservation and environmentalism, including Dr. Richard Oppenlander’s Comfortably Unaware, a book that details the impact of our food choices on the environment.” 

ON THE RECORD WITH SEBASTIAN BELLE OF THE MAINE AQUACULTURE ASSOCIATION

The Working Waterfront, 5/5/21 – “When it comes to aquaculture, it would be hard to top Sebastian Belle’s resumé. Belle, 62, earned a degree in fisheries and wildlife at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, fished offshore for a time, then moved to Europe. ‘I was able to get a job in Norway on an aquaculture farm,’ he recalls. ‘I happened to be in the right place at the right time. That was in the very early days of the salmon industry, and they were making a lot of money and investing it all around the world, and they sent me all around the world, building projects,’ raising salmon, shrimp, trout, and scallops. Belle returned to Maine and moved to Eastport, where he managed a series of salmon farms for five years, then worked at Boston’s New England Aquarium for five years in research and development for farming bluefin tuna. Then it was back overseas to build tuna farms in Spain, France, Mexico, and Australia. ‘And then I came back. Angus King pestered me enough,’ he laughs, saying the then-governor ‘wanted private sector people to come work in state government.’ Belle became a senior policy advisor on aquaculture for the Department of Marine Resources. He also served on the board of the Maine Aquaculture Association, which was founded in 1977.”

MORE THAN 60 SEAFOOD ORGANIZATIONS ASK CONGRESS TO RESURRECT NATIONAL SEAFOOD COUNCIL

Seafood Source, 5/5/21 – “More than 60 leading seafood organizations have signed a letter to congress to support appropriations to resurrect the National Seafood Council in the United States. The letter has been delivered to members of Congress, with a request that appropriations  be made to support a national seafood marketing campaign, as recommended by NOAA’s Marine Fisheries Advisory Council (MAFAC). The initial request is for USD 25 million (EUR 20.8 million) to fund the marketing efforts, according to the Seafood Nutrition Partnership (SNP).”