Industry News

NONPROFIT BUYS YARMOUTH BOATYARD TO PRESERVE WORKING WATERFRONT

Mainebiz, 12/22/21 – “A year-old nonprofit in southern Maine has acquired a 12-acre boatyard in Yarmouth as the launch of a mission to preserve working waterfront. The Sea Meadow Marine Foundation bought the yard, at 123 Even Keel Road on the Cousins River, from Jamie and Joseph Lowell, brothers who operate Even Keel Marine Specialties Inc. at the site. Sea Meadow’s vision is to create a business incubator and marine business hub for early-stage fisheries and sustainable aquaculture businesses alongside marina services, heritage boat builders and recreational marine organizations, according to a news release. Even Keel offers boat services and storage and hosts the Yarmouth Rowing Club’s activities. Financing and guidance for the deal were provided by Coastal Enterprises Inc. and support from the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation, according to the release.”

New York Times, 12/17/21 – “Wild oysters once grew thickly in U.S. waters, but centuries of overfishing, pollution and habitat devastation have thinned their population drastically. Today, more than 95 percent of all the oysters consumed in the country are cultivated on highly sustainable aquafarms. It’s the interaction of aquaculture techniques and the environment that creates merroir, and both can significantly affect the final product. Ryan McPherson, an owner of Glidden Point Oyster Farm in Edgecomb, Maine, can easily rattle off the elements of the Damariscotta River that contribute to its merroir, including the cold, pristine, brackish water; the abundance of plankton and algae that flow on the currents; and the silt on the river bottom.”

LONG LIVE THE KINGFISH

Fish Farmer Magazine, 12/17/21 – “The purchase of land near Jonesport, Maine, is an important step towards making the project a reality, following the earlier approval of key permits allowing it to move ahead. This is one of several land-based RAS projects along the US Atlantic coast, but unlike most of the others this farm will not be producing salmon, but yellowtail kingfish. It will be following a model already established by the group’s European arm, Kingfish Zeeland, in the Netherlands. Kingfish Zeeland has been in operation since 2018 and is currently in the process of expanding its capacity from 1,500 tonnes annually to 3,500. Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Ohad Maiman says kingfish “ticks all the boxes” for RAS farming: it enables local production of a fish that is normally dependent on imports (for Europe and the US, kingfish is generally imported from Japan); it performs well in a RAS setting; and it is (like salmon) a high-value product.”

THE OYSTER SAVERS: THE MOLLUSKS FILTER WATER, PROTECT AGAINST STORMS AND TASTE AMAZING. RESTORING THEIR HABITAT IS A NO-BRAINER

Portland Press Herald, 12/12/21 – “The Basin Oyster Project was conceived in 2017 by The Nature Conservancy, which owns coastal property near the Basin and has also supported similar reef restoration projects along the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana, in the Pensacola East Bay in Florida, off Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, Swan Quarter National Wildlife Refuge, and Nags Head Woods Preserve in North Carolina, in 10 Chesapeake Bay tributaries in Maryland, and in Great Bay in New Hampshire. Wild oysters reefs existed for thousands of years along the Maine coast. They provided Indigenous people with food and building materials. They also provided ecological benefits by improving water quality (oysters are filter feeders), fostering ecosystem biodiversity and providing coastal storm surge protection.”

COMMUNITY SHELLFISH RECEIVES $420,000 FOR DISTRIBUTION CENTER IN CONNECTICUT

Lincoln County News, 12/9/21 – “Community Shellfish Company is expanding to southern New England and New York, and bringing the products of Maine’s burgeoning shellfish and aquaculture industry to a new market. The company received a federal grant of about $420,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Local Agriculture Market Program to create videos that show new customers in Connecticut images of where the shellfish is coming from and raise demand for seafood from Lincoln County. The grant money will also fund videos that demonstrate scallop and clam recipes that are meant to help sell Maine’s oysters, clams, lobsters, and scallops, Boe Marsh, owner of Community Shellfish, said.”

IN THE LAND OF LOBSTER, SEAWEED IS FINDING ITS NICHE

Mount Desert Islander, 12/6/21 – “The annual Maine harvest of seaweed pales in comparison to lobster landings in pounds and value. Yet increasingly, lobstermen have joined other entrepreneurs in growing, harvesting and marketing Maine seaweed. Seen as another means of diversifying the state’s commercial fishing industry, it is turning into a multimillion-dollar industry and keeping in-shore fishermen busy during lobster’s off season. Rockweed, common along the Maine coast, accounts for about 95 percent of commercially harvested seaweed. It’s used for packing lobsters, as fertilizer and a nutritional additive for pet and livestock feed, and to extract alginate, used to thicken foods, cosmetics and even paint. But a smaller but growing market is for kelp, sugar kelp, dulse and Alaria, edible sea vegetables grown and harvested for nutritional and flavor supplements in a variety of foods.”

MAINE’S WORKING WATERFRONTS FACING A TIDAL WAVE OF THREATS, ISLAND INSTITUTE REPORT FINDS

Press Herald, 12/1/21 – “Boe Marsh, head of Community Shellfish in Bremen, sees the value that the working waterfront brings to his small coastal town on a daily basis. As working waterfront access diminishes along Maine’s coast, he and others are desperate to protect it. A new report commissioned by the Island Institute in Rockland is raising the alarm and proposing solutions. According to the report, the lack of infrastructure, support, access, affordable housing and legal protections, as well as increasing risks from climate change, make Maine particularly vulnerable to losing its iconic working waterfronts. It details the need for a broad, statewide strategy around protecting access before it’s too late.”

KINGFISH ANNOUNCES KEY PROGRESS MILESTONES ON PERMITTED U.S. PRECISION-AQUAFARM SITE

Yahoo News, 11/29/21 – “The Kingfish Company, a pioneer and leader in sustainable land-based aquaculture, has announced that it has concluded the purchase of land for its new facility in Jonesport, Maine. Upon completion, the facility will serve as Kingfish’s first production facility in the U.S. as the company looks to replicate its successful operation in Europe and establish significant local sustainable seafood production for U.S. retailers and food service. The purchase follows the approval of two final permits from the State of Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP) earlier this month, that enable Kingfish Maine to advance to pre-construction design and engineering on schedule. Both critical water-side permits were obtained earlier during 2021.”

ONCE A THANKSGIVING STAPLE, OYSTERS ARE MAKING A HOLIDAY COMEBACK

Bangor Daily News, 11/24/21 – “Oysters have been a staple at Thanksgiving dinner tables longer than turkey — and this year, they’re coming back. Maine oyster growers and sellers are reporting a boost in sales this year as Thanksgiving approaches, which is welcome news to an industry that suffered in 2020 due to pandemic related closure and decreased demand. The state’s renewed focus on promoting its oysters, coupled with the general love for local cooking, is likely driving the demand. ‘We have noticed an increase in direct to customer sales,’ said Kelly Punch, catering and events manager of Mere Point Oyster Company in Brunswick. ‘People want oysters and are not afraid to shuck them themselves.'”

PORTLAND’S HISTORIC UNION WHARF IS BEING SOLD AND PRESERVED FOR MARITIME USE

Maine Public, 10/15/21 – “A growing research institution on Portland’s waterfront is buying a historic wharf and promising to preserve it for marine-based activities. Union Wharf sits roughly in the middle of the line of wharves and waterfront businesses that stretch the length of the city’s Commercial Street. ‘Union Wharf is the centerpiece, it’s the firewall against tourism developments to the east and it’s really the center of our working waterfront,’ said Don Perkins, the CEO of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, which was established a few piers down from Union Wharf back in 2005. Since then GMRI has become an influential center for marine science and education, and it’s spun off some commercial enterprises that aim to boost sustainable fishing-industry opportunities.”