Read all about the exciting things happening in Maine’s dynamic, innovative aquaculture community. From land to sea, fin fish to shellfish and everything in between – check out industry news below and learn how Maine seafood producers are building a sustainable, resilient local food system with aquaculture. Press releases, FAQs, background information, and photo and video assets are available in our online press room here.
Spectrum Local News, 8/10/23 – “Tess Hureau spent the summer interning at a Brunswick aquaponics company that grows fresh vegetables and fish. For the University of Maine aquaculture student, it was a chance to expand her knowledge beyond fish to sustainable plants. ‘It was so interesting,’ she said Thursday in Belfast at the Student Symposium for the Advancement of Maine’s Blue Economy. ‘I learned about what it takes to run a farm, basically.’ And when the rising senior from Colorado finishes her schooling, she plans to stay in Maine. ‘I would love to keep on working in the aquaculture community,’ she said. ‘Maybe try an oyster farm or working with fish.'”
MaineBiz, 8/10/23 – “Maine’s aquaculture industry is on a roll when it comes to new ways to help it grow. Developments in the past few years include publication of a first-of-its-kind financial benchmarking report for the industry, the nation’s first occupational standards and a Maine shellfish aquaculture career pathways map, as well as the launch of the nation’s first aquaculture apprenticeship program in the U.S. Now the Maine Aquaculture Association has released another new tool to help aquaculture farmers finance their businesses.”
Bangor Daily News, 7/24/23 – “The University of Maine is designing an aquaculture center that would expand research and provide workforce training to meet growing industry needs in the state. The 15,000-square-foot center, which UMaine is still designing and would be on the Orono campus, would include tanks and other equipment resembling a recirculating aquaculture system, a fish-farming technology that recycles water and is considered more environmentally friendly than traditional methods. There will be classrooms and small laboratories for undergraduate capstone projects and studying subjects like feed development.”
Global Seafood Alliance, 7/17/23 – “With more U.S. seaweed farms coming online on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, producers’ concerns are shifting from raw material procurement to processing. With well-established preferences for seaweed products in the marketplace, it behooves local producers to meet them to wean the market off of imports. When Mitchell Lench, CEO of Oceans Balance in Biddeford, Maine, discovered an industrial kelp dryer that could dry up to 3 million pounds of farmed seaweed annually was available in South Africa, he jumped at the opportunity to purchase the $650,000 machine and ship it across the sea. Oceans Balance had been blanching and freezing its farmed kelp for years because there wasn’t a suitable dehydrator available. It was limiting their business options.”
Mainebiz, 7/14/23 – “New aquaculture apprenticeship and pre-apprentice programs are getting clear signals that the industry is on to something when it comes to recruiting and training workforce. This summer, 19 pre-apprentices are working on 18 aquaculture farms along the coast. And people have moved from as far as California and Alaska, including former commercial fishermen, to enroll in the apprentice program. The programs are a collaboration of FocusMaine, Educate Maine, Gulf of Maine Research Institute and Maine Aquaculture Association. The two experiential learning programs aim to create a career pathway into Maine’s aquaculture sector.”
National Fisherman, 6/20/23 – “While the ways that aquaculture can actively support commercial fisheries have been well established, there is nonetheless a tension between certain fishing and aquaculture communities. Though it can be easy to look at these two industries in a monochromatic way, aquaculture can open up brand-new opportunities for fishermen. Aquaculture farms represent another form of income for fishing families and can open up additional opportunities to employ those looking to get involved in jobs on the coast. The tension between these communities can become prominent when certain perspectives are exclusively focused on, and National Fisherman fell into that trap with a recent article that only explored one perspective around the creation of a fish farm in Frenchman Bay, Maine.”
Mainebiz, 5/31/23 – “The first-ever report on Maine’s seafood sector as a whole, including downstream contributors, found in 2019, the sector contributed over $3.2 billion in total economic output to the Maine economy. The largest contributors were retail seafood, at $692 million, followed by lobster harvesting at $511 million and seafood processing at $343 million. The sector supported over 33,300 jobs statewide in 2019, including 23,846 in sector industries and 7,300 additional jobs supported by other indirect and induced multiplier effects. The report was commissioned by Seafood Economic Accelerator for Maine, or SEA Maine for short.”