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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.”

FARMED SCALLOPS TAKE ROOT IN MAINE’S WATERS

Maine Magazine, February 2022 – “Eighty six, eight-seven,” says Andrew Peters, captain of the fishing boat Sammy G. “Ninety,” adds David Loxterkamp, a friend and family doctor from Belfast who’s on board to help for the day. The two men keep counting, the numbers they call out bouncing through the air while the diesel engine chugs. In Grundens orange bibs and teal green rubberized gloves, the men are working through stacked crates of splashing seawater, sorting and counting the day’s haul of scallops. They need 1,200 scallops—cleaned and shucked—to fill the orders for this week. So, this is a scallop farm.”

VACANT DOWN EAST LOBSTER POUNDS COULD BE THE PERFECT GROWING GROUNDS FOR SCALLOPS

Bangor Daily News, 2/4/22 – “A small-scale test indicates that scallops can grow well in old Down East lobster pounds, possibly opening new economic opportunities for the region. A preliminary experiment by the Downeast Institute found scallops in vacant lobster pounds grow faster and have a higher survival rate when compared with those farmed in the ocean. It’s too early to go all in on the idea, researchers said, but if further tests show similar results, scallop farming in dormant pounds across Hancock and Washington counties could provide people who make a living off the water a way to diversify as it becomes harder and more expensive to lobster.”

WOMEN MOVING INTO GROWING AQUACULTURE SECTOR

The Working Waterfront, 1/31/22 – “Currently, Maine’s Department of Marine Resources doesn’t track statistics on the gender and diversity breakdown of the state’s aquaculture licenses or commercial fishing licenses. But Afton Hupper, an outreach and development specialist at the Maine Aquaculture Association, estimates that in 2019, 80 percent of all aquaculture licenses and limited purpose aquaculture licenses—permits that last a calendar year and are often used for test sites—are held by men. These numbers could be changing. According to a report by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in May 2020, a third of all limited purpose aquaculture, or LPA licenses were held by women.”

MAINE STATE SEA KAYAK EXPANDS OPERATIONS

Mount Desert Islander, 1/22/22 – “Southwest Harbor’s Maine State Sea Kayak is set to open another location on Cottage Street in Bar Harbor this summer [. . .] Last summer, Jordan collaborated with Bar Harbor Oyster Company to give kayak tours of oyster farms. The tours paddle from Hadley Point to the Bar Harbor Oyster company’s aquaculture farm on The Twinnies islands, where the oyster company does its processing. Kayakers can even try Gulf of Maine oysters. ‘Joanna [Fogg, owner of Bar Harbor Oyster Company] and her employees serve the oysters and then we return back at sunset to Hadley Point,’ Jordan said.”

KINGFISH COMPANY SALES MORE THAN DOUBLED IN 2021

Fish Farmer Magazine, 1/10/22 – “The Kingfish Company doubled its sales last year on the back of fast growing demand for Dutch yellowtail in both Europe and the United States, it announced today. Revenues totalled 10.4m euros against €5m in 2020 with sales in the final quarter of 2021 particularly encouraging at €3.8m. [. . .] Late last year Kingfish gained final state level approvals and announced that the land had been purchased for its new facility in Jonesport, Maine. The company added: ‘Following the approval and the land purchase, the company is cleared to start groundworks. The US development is projected to reach 8,500 metric tons of capacity once built. Construction in Maine will start once financing has been secured.'” 

AQUACULTURE WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT IS THE FOCUS OF $500,000 GRANT TO NONPROFIT

Mainebiz, 1/7/22 – “Following a study that shows Maine’s increasingly diversified aquaculture industry is a growing source of potential jobs, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland is planning an aquaculture workforce training system with the help of a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. ‘Maine’s aquaculture industry is vital to our state’s economy but needs a skilled workforce to continue to grow and innovate,’ U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine 1st District, said in a news release announcing the award. The Gulf of Maine Research Institute has designed a collaborative program aimed at training aquaculture specialists, helping students to secure jobs and supporting workforce needs.”

AS MAINE’S CLIMATE CHANGES, SCALLOP FARMING OFFERS OPTIMISM

Portland Press Herald, 1/2/22 – “As rapidly warming oceans continue to drive Maine lobster into more remote waters, some in the state’s fishing industry regard sea scallop farming as the prime candidate to help bring added stability to the industry and offset anticipated revenue losses. [. . .] automation technology and farming techniques borrowed from more mature scallop fisheries as far away as Japan are giving some Maine seafood harvesters cause for optimism. They believe the growth potential for sustainable, farm-raised scallops is nearly limitless in Maine, if they can just figure out the right approach and make it affordable.” 

Down East’s Top 10 Longreads of 2021

Down East Magazine, December 2021 – “This year, the most-read and most-shared stories on our site captured the aspirations and anxieties of a state in transition, weighing the promises and costs of new development, considering the future of Maine’s marine industries, and exploring frontiers in agriculture and conservation [. . .] From our September 2021 issue: Stonington’s Abby Barrows dialed back a globetrotting research career to take over an oyster farm in her hometown. Now, she’s out to refashion the equipment of her new profession, to keep Maine’s booming aquaculture sector from fouling the waters it relies upon.”

ACADIA AQUA FARMS PROPOSES RAISING MUSSEL SEEDS IN FRENCHMAN BAY

Mount Desert Islander, 12/30/21 – “A prehearing conference for a 48-acre aquaculture lease site in Frenchman Bay is set for Jan. 4. The meeting will be held remotely to discuss the administrative process for the public hearing on Feb. 9 in Bar Harbor. The Department of Marine Resources recommends that anyone planning to apply for intervenor status attend. Intervenor status is typically granted to those who have a determinable stake in the outcome of an aquaculture proposal. In its application, Acadia Aqua Farms LLC proposes raising up to 1,000 tons of blue mussels, 10 million sea scallops and 1,000 tons each of hard- and softshell clams on a lease site southwest of Googins Ledge.”