News

PRESS RELEASE

December 5th, 2019 | Hallowell, Maine

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Maine Aquaculture Association Launches New Video Project: The Faces of Maine’s Working Waterfront

The Maine Aquaculture Association has announced the release of a new video series titled, “The Faces of Maine’s Working Waterfront.” The videos tell the stories of aquatic farmers in Maine, underscoring how aquaculture complements existing marine industries and works to diversify and strengthen our coastal economy.

The first film released in the series features Cooke Aquaculture, a family-owned company that farms Atlantic salmon in the Down East region, creating hundreds of jobs and producing sustainable, healthy, local seafood. The Cooke video highlights how declining fisheries in Maine led to commercial fishermen leaving the waterfront in search of mill jobs. Dave Morang was impacted by these changes, but working for Cooke gave him the chance to work on the water again and “live the American dream.”

The second video in the series features Josh Conover, a long time Islesboro lobsterman who owns and operates Marshall Cove Mussel farm with his wife Shey. The mussel farm is an environmentally and economically sustainable method of protein production, improving water quality and keeping 4-5 workers employed year-round. For Shey and Josh, the mussel farm helps to ensure jobs on the water for themselves and their two children for decades to come.

The association is planning to release more videos in the coming months, which can be viewed on the Maine Aquaculture Association’s Instagram and Facebook pages as well as their YouTube channel.

PRESS RELEASE

June 28, 2019 | Hallowell, Maine

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Maine Aquaculture Association Welcomes Recent UMaine Grad as Outreach & Development Specialist

Afton Hupper, a recent graduate of the University of Maine, has joined the staff at the Maine Aquaculture Association (MAA) as an outreach and development specialist. Hupper is the first to hold this new position, which is a joint appointment through MAA and the National Aquaculture Association (NAA). Afton will focus on building the association’s capacity to communicate effectively with its members, community partners and organizations, and the public. She will also be working to enhance and refine membership services offered through MAA, engage key stakeholders in discussions surrounding Maine aquaculture, and raise awareness about sustainably farmed seafood in Maine and beyond. A key feature of her work will be developing, improving, and streamlining communications through social media, email, and the MAA website. 

Afton was born and raised in Tenants Harbor, Maine, and is a member of a multi-generational lobstering family. Her upbringing instilled in her an ethic of natural resource conservation from a young age. In 2013, she graduated from Oceanside High School in Rockland, after which she continued her education at the University of Maine. Afton received her Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Environmental Sciences from UMaine in 2017, and remained a black bear for two more years to pursue her Master of Science in Resource Economics & Policy, completing six years at Orono in May, 2019. A strong focus of Afton’s educational background has been sustainable and local food systems, as she has written both an undergraduate and master’s thesis on the subject. Afton looks forward to bridging her passion for supporting Maine’s working waterfronts with her food systems expertise in her work with MAA, as well as learning more about aquaculture and fisheries management in Maine and the world.   

As non-profit member associations, MAA and NAA have been committed to serving aquatic farmers for over a combined 69 years by advocating for members’ interests at the state and federal levels, providing business support, developing innovative farming methods to grow safe and healthy seafood, and educating the public about sustainable seafood farming practices.

PRESS RELEASE

MAY 25, 2018 | Hallowell, Maine
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Sebastian Belle to be featured speaker at 2018 National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference: On Land and Sea! being held in Portland, Maine on June 25-29, 2018

The National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization (NAITCO) is holding their annual conference in Maine this summer. Over 480 teachers from around the U.S. have registered to attend this sold out conference. The Maine Aquaculture Association (MAA) has been involved with the Maine Agriculture in the Classroom program for the past 17 years and has participated in their annual Summer Teacher’s Institute by taking teachers on tours of aquaculture farms from Eastport to Scarborough. MAA also participates in their annual Read “ME” Agriculture program in which the Aquaculture for ME book, lessons and activities reach over 100,000 Maine students annually.

Three aquaculture workshops will be held during the week long conference. The first is a trip aboard the Lucky Catch to Calendar Island Mussel Farm in Casco Bay, the second is a visit to the Gulf of Maine Research Center and the last is a visit to the University of New England seaside campus in Biddeford to experience the aquaculture center and explore the many career opportunities aquaculture has to offer.

Aquaculture is Agriculture: Sewing the Seeds for a New Generation of Farmers is the title of Sebastian’s presentation during the opening luncheon. Maine has one of the longest coastlines in any state in the country. With hundreds of bays and islands to shelter farms from the powerful North Atlantic storms, Maine is a great place to start farming the ocean. Maine’s cold, clean waters help farms grow healthy, high quality seafood. Maine’s marine farmers grow shellfish, finfish, and sea vegetables. Americans want more farmed salmon and the Maine industry can deliver as we continue to improve and innovate to meet the increasing demand for our products. Maine aquaculture is ready to grow and play a major role in reversing our country’s seafood trade deficit. We know that Maine’s aquaculture industry is having a major impact on the prosperity of our coastal communities and working waterfronts and that the Maine brand is well respected by customers all over the United States.

A salmon dinner is planned, courtesy of Cooke Aquaculture, during the conference which will give the teachers an opportunity to sample some of Maine’s delicious farm-raised salmon.

About Maine Aquaculture Association
Founded in 1976, the Maine Aquaculture Association (MAA) is the oldest state aquaculture association in the country. Its members grow finfish, shellfish and sea vegetables in both fresh and saltwater using a variety of innovative farming methods. The MAA and its member growers are widely recognized as pioneers in the development of innovative and sustainable farming methods designed to enhance their stewardship of Maine’s pristine aquatic environments. Through a 14-point set of environmental guiding principles,cooperative area management agreements, continuous member improvement training and third party audited best management practices MAA and its members are leading the way in the development of new and environmentally sustainable ways to provide America with healthy, fresh seafood.

Press contact:
Sebastian Belle Executive Director
Maine Aquaculture Association Tel. (207) 622-0136
maineaqua.com

PRESS RELEASE

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Maine Farmed Atlantic Salmon for the President

The Maine Aquaculture Association is proud to announce that Maine’s ocean farm raised Atlantic Salmon was chosen to be on the menu for today’s Inauguration events in Washington.

“We know that Maine’s aquaculture industry is having a major impact on the prosperity of our coastal communities and working waterfronts and that the Maine brand is well respected by customers all over the United States,” says Sebastian Belle, the association’s Executive Director. “To have farmed salmon that were raised in the State of Maine served to President Trump, Governor LePage and to those celebrating today’s Inauguration, is a real honor and affirmation of our healthy, high quality, sustainably produced farmed seafood.”

Fresh Maine salmon were individually hand selected for the President from the cool, clear waters of Cooke Aquaculture USA’s ‘Deep Cove’ marine farm site, one of the State’s oldest salmon farms near Eastport, Maine. These fish were raised from small eggs to “smolts” at one of Maine’s freshwater hatcheries before transfer to the Deep Cove marine site. They were harvested and packaged for shipment at the True North Salmon Processing facility in Machiasport. In Washington, the salmon were smoked by the Executive Chef of the Blair House and will be served this evening to guests, including President Trump.

“Many of the men and women who raised these fish are long-term employees with a lifetime of experience on the water and proud contributors to the local economy,” said Glenn Cooke, CEO of Cooke Aquaculture USA. “They took great pride in selecting beautiful fish for the trip to Washington. Our company has a keen interest in promoting the Maine Brand, in the future of the State’s economy, the health of its communities and its people and the health of the US seafood sector.”
Cooke employs approximately 250 people in Downeast Maine in its fully integrated salmon farming operations. As the largest employer and taxpayer in the City of Eastport and a major employer in Machiasport, the company is a key contributor to the State’s economy.

“Maine seafood is the best in the world and it’s a great honor to know that the Maine brand, which reflects our pristine environment and world-class quality, will be represented during the inauguration,” said Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher.
The United States is the third largest market for seafood in the world but ranks fifteenth in terms of aquaculture production importing 91% of its seafood. Maine is within a 24-hour truck ride from over 150 million customers and has over 190 farms that raise finfish, shellfish and marine plants with a total economic impact of $137 million.
“Americans want more farmed Atlantic salmon and the Maine industry can deliver as we continue to improve and innovate to meet the increasing demand for our products, “said Belle. “Maine aquaculture is ready to grow and play a major role in reversing our country’s seafood trade deficit.”

About Maine Aquaculture Association
Founded in 1976 the Maine Aquaculture Association (MAA) is the oldest state aquaculture association in the country. Its members grow finfish, shellfish and sea vegetables in both fresh and saltwater using a variety of innovative farming methods. The MAA and its member growers are widely recognized as pioneers in the development of innovative and sustainable farming methods designed to enhance their stewardship of Maine’s pristine aquatic environments. Through a 14 point set of environmental guiding principles, cooperative area management agreements, continuous member improvement training and third party audited best management practices MAA and its members are leading the way in the development of new and environmentally sustainable ways to provide America with healthy, fresh seafood.

Press contact:

Sebastian Belle Executive Director
Maine Aquaculture Association Tel. (207) 622-0136
Maineaquaculture.com