Community News

Brother Shucker serves cold fresh oysters from a food truck

Pen Bay Pilot, 6/2/22 – “Brother Shucker is a new fixture in Rockport and beyond the cheeky name, the food truck offers something no other food truck in the Midcoast has ever offered: fresh, raw oysters shucked on site. Zak Kuras moved to Maine in 2016 and started oyster farming on the Damariscotta River, first with Glidden Point Oyster Farm in Edgecomb. After that,  he managed Community Shellfish’s Oyster Farm in Bremen. “I decided after that, I’d like to run my own business with my brother, Hudson,” he said—which removes the mystery of where the name “Brother Shucker” came from.”

CASCO BAY MUSSEL FARM DOUBLES PRODUCTION IN TWO YEARS

Mainebiz, 5/24/22 – “A planned expansion helped Bangs Island Mussels, a Casco Bay mussel farm, double production over the past two years, with further growth expected for 2022. The farm, founded in 1999, grows mussels on ropes suspended from rafts above the ocean floor. The product, sold nationally, has been featured in outlets such as Martha Stewart Living and the New York Times. Father-and-son Gary and Matthew Moretti bought the operation in 2010 and began growing kelp, sold to Biddeford food producer Atlantic Sea Farms, alongside the mussels using a system called “integrated multi-trophic aquaculture.”

THESE FARMERS AND RANCHERS TURN TRASH INTO TREASURE

Modern Farmer, 5/23/22 – “Farmers and ranchers are the ultimate innovators, finding all kinds of creative uses for items that would otherwise end up in a landfill—or, sometimes, that already have. “All the rope I use I get at the dump,” says Abby Barrows, a Stonington, Maine-based oyster farmer and marine scientist researcher. Barrows, who, in her work as a marine scientist, focuses on microplastics in the ocean, has reused various materials since buying the oyster farm in 2015. “It’s been my flavor going into it,” says Barrows, who inherited flotation devices for the oyster bags on her farm made of cedar and housing installation from the previous owner of the oyster farm. She also built an oyster tumbler using wood that she and her husband cut and milled themselves and oversized PVC piping in which  they drilled holes.”

STILL AWAITING FINAL PERMITS, KINGFISH MAINE GETS FIRST SHIPMENT OF YELLOWTAIL

Bay News 9, 5/23/22 – “The company hoping to build a large-scale fish farm in Jonesport recently received its first shipment of yellowtail kingfish from the Netherlands, an effort to ramp up production in anticipation of receiving final permits. “When you’re planning a big facility, getting fish ready ahead of time is critical,” said Megan Sorby, operations manager for Kingfish Maine, the American branch of the company owned by Kingfish Zeeland in the Netherlands. As they await permission to build a new facility on 93 acres in Jonesport, the company is leasing space at the University of Maine’s Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research in Franklin.” 

STUDENTS LEARN SCIENCE OF SCALLOP FISHERY AT HURRICANE ISLAND SCHOOL

News Center Maine, 5/19/22 – “As the spring days edged closer to summer, students at Oceanside High School in Rockland skipped class to search for scallops. On a sunny May school day, sophomore Aiden Weymouth boarded a skiff along with other students to retrieve spat bags—mesh bags designed to trap scallop larvae that floats freely in the ocean—from Penobscot Bay. Students placed nine spat bags in the harbor last fall. Altogether, they lost five bags and one was destroyed, but three bags remained. They spent part of their school day carefully picking baby scallops from the mesh.”

REINVENTING THE EEL

Eater, 5/17/22 – “Many eels appearing on menus are raised in China, where limited regulation means that eel farms can import the fish from illegal or sustainably fished populations, and then grow them using potentially harmful chemicals. So what’s an ethical eel eater to do? In an otherwise unassuming business park in Waldoboro, Maine, one small company may have a solution. On this week’s episode of Gastropod, “Reinventing the Eel,” co-hosts Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley visit the brand-new industrial facility of American Unagi, the first and only commercial-sized eel farm in North America, where pioneering eel farmer Sara Rademaker is trying to change the way the U.S. buys and eats eel.”

Gov. Mills shucks an oyster following aquaculture roundtableGovernor Mills Highlights Responsible Aquaculture as Opportunity to Create Jobs, Strengthen Economy, and Promote Maine Seafood

Office of Governor Janet T. Mills, 5/17/22 – “During a roundtable with sea farmers from the New Meadows River Shellfish Co-op today, Governor Janet Mills highlighted her Administration’s commitment to responsible aquaculture as an opportunity to strengthen and diversify Maine’s economy, generate good jobs, and provide Maine people with sustainable, locally-farmed seafood. To support Maine’s aquaculture sector, the Governor pointed to millions of dollars made available to Maine sea farmers through the State’s distribution of funding through the CARES Act, the Governor’s Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, the recently enacted supplemental budget, and the Working Waterfront Access Protection Program.”

MAINE SEAWEED FARMER AIMS TO HELP AQUACULTURE GROW MORE LUCRATIVE OCEAN PLANTS THROUGH NEW METHOD

Bangor Daily News, 4/18/22 – “Sarah Redmond, the owner of Springtide Seaweed in Frenchman Bay, has set out to develop a new method of farming dulse and nori, two high-value and in-demand red seaweeds [. . .] Redmond, who has been in aquaculture for more than a decade and grows other seaweeds on her farm in Frenchman Bay, started this new work in September with the help of a $650,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture [. . .] Her efforts were applauded by Sebastian Belle, the executive director of the Maine Aquaculture Association, who thought the research could afford farmers the chance to diversify their ocean plots and help move the sector forward. ‘We want to have options, see what the markets are calling for and have the ability to grow different crops on different sites,’ he said.”

OYSTER FARM, FLOWER TRUCK WIN BUSINESS COMPETITION

Mount Desert Islander, 3/9/22 – “Cranberry Oysters and Little Red Flower Truck received $5,000 each as winners in the “pitch competition” at the end of a three-day Business Boot Camp for local entrepreneurs that was held last weekend by Mount Desert 365, which works to foster year-round economic vitality. The prize money was provided by the event’s sponsor, Bar Harbor Bank & Trust. MD365 describes the Business Boot Camp as “an intensive mini-MBA weekend program of business skill development for local business owners and entrepreneurs [. . .] The winner of the pitch competition, chosen by the event’s judges, was Cranberry Oysters, an oyster farm off Great Cranberry Island owned by Lauren Gray.” 

SEAWEED FARMING HAS VAST POTENTIAL (BUT GOOD LUCK GETTING A PERMIT)

Pew Trusts, 3/7/22 – “‘There’s a lot of people who are interested in seaweed farming, take a look at that [permitting] flowchart, and decide there’s just no functional way,’ said Laura Butler, aquaculture coordinator with the Washington State Department of Agriculture. [. . .] Many aquaculture leaders cite Maine, which created the nation’s first leasing system for farming in state waters in 1974, as having a well-developed industry and reasonable regulations. The 190 commercial farms in Maine generate $80 million to $100 million annually in sales, led by salmon, mussels and oysters. Many of the state’s new ocean farmers come from commercial fishing or other maritime backgrounds.”