Our History

  • 1973 – Maine legislature passed first marine farm leasing statute in the nation, which included significant environmental protections.
  • 1978 – MAA was established as the first aquatic farmers’ association in the U.S.  Founding members identified the development of more environmentally sensitive farming methods and the protection of aquatic ecosystems as top priorities.
  • 1980-2005 Maine aquatic farmers helped conduct multiple scientific studies, developing eight resource management plans and lobbying for over 65 significant statutory and regulatory changes designed to reduce environmental impacts and user conflicts.
  • 1987 – Maine developed the first comprehensive environmental monitoring program for marine aquaculture in United States.
  • 1989 Maine developed the first integrated state and federal aquaculture permitting and monitoring process.
  • 1994 – Maine shellfish farmers opposed the introduction of a non-native oyster species.
  • 1997 – Maine fish farmers developed world’s first code of containment to reduce farm escapes.
  • 2000 – Maine fish farmers signed cooperative bay management agreements designed to collectively manage farm impacts on local marine ecosystems and minimize disease risks.
  • 2000 – MAA developed and adopted a comprehensive set of guiding principles for responsible aquaculture based on the United Nations’ guidelines for responsible aquaculture development.
  • 2001 – MAA signed a cooperative agreement with environmental groups to work together to address environmental concerns.
  • 2002 – In cooperation with environmental groups, federal and state regulators, Maine fish farmers developed and implemented the world’s first external audit system to verify compliance with the code of containment.
  • 2002 MAA membership adopted a comprehensive code of practice based on environmental management principles enacted by the United Nations.
  • 2004 – Maine water farmers lobbied for stringent discharge regulations on cruise ships to prevent the overboard discharge of untreated sewage, medical and photo processing wastes.
  • 2005 – Maine fish farmers recognized by the World Wildlife Foundation and Atlantic salmon federation as some of the most environmentally progressive and strictly regulated fish farmers in the world.
  • 2010 – MAA received grant funding for the “Cod Academy,” a program to help displaced commercial fishermen of Washington and Hancock counties work in cod aquaculture.
  • 2010 – The first economic development plan for aquaculture was created by MAA, Maine Sea Grant, Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center (MAIC) and UMaine’s Aquaculture Research Institute.
  • 2011 – MAA worked with oyster farmers and researchers to help the industry recover from the introduction of MSX, a disease which can cause high mortality in oysters.
  • 2013 – The Aquaculture in Shared Waters course was initiated by MAA, SeaGrant, the MAIC, the Island Institute, and Coastal Enterprises Incorporated. The course was designed to help train a new generation of growers in sustainable business practices.
  • 2014 – MAA helped sponsor workshops to help integrate aquaculture into the tourism industry in Maine.
  • 2015 – MAA worked with Maine Sea Grant to develop the first Maine Oyster Trail, which highlights growers and retailers of Maine oysters.
  • 2016 – Maine Dept. of Marine Resources adds a Division of Aquaculture