About the Maine Aquaculturist

Carefully curated, expertly vetted resources to inform decision-making for aquaculture businesses.

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Guiding Principles

The Maine Aquaculturist is a direct response to a gap in industry support identified by aquaculture business owners. To create this tool, we used a series of working sessions and conversations with aquaculturists from across the industry to drive the content, structure, and design.

Facilitate business decision-making

Early-phase businesses simply “don’t know what they don’t know.” How can a startup find the right resource, when they’re not even sure what the question should be? The Start a Business section maps out key decision-points to starting a sea farm and embeds resources within FAQs.

Don't try to provide all the answers

The diversity and variability of Maine's aquaculture industry means that there will never be one-size-fits-all solutions to business challenges. The goal is to increase use of existing support resources that Maine’s remarkable aquaculture community already provides.

Serve startups and mature companies alike

Many of The Maine Aquaculturists' resources are geared towards new and inexperienced sea farmers. However, industry veterans advocated for, and make use of, the searchable resource database, job board, and regulatory updates tracker.

Capture anecdotal experience of veteran sea farmers

When sea farmers have a question, they ask another sea farmer! Drawing inspiration from these informal information-sharing relationships, our exclusive case studies provide glimpses into the minds of experienced aquaculturists. Industry veterans from diverse backgrounds share critical insights — allowing readers to draw from their successes and avoid repeating their mistakes. To maintain the integrity of this information, case studies are only authored by vetted, experienced industry professionals.

Privilege transparency

Aquaculture business owners have to adhere to a level of professional transparency that's much higher than that of other industries. We want to reflect that commitment in this knowledge portal. All the resources on the site have been vetted by industry experts to ensure they are accurate, relevant, and business-oriented.

Our Mission

The Maine Aquaculturist empowers Maine's sea farmers to access and fully utilize business-relevant support resources. By centralizing knowledge to a single, searchable database and by filling gaps in existing resources, we help farmers find the information that moves them forward. The Maine Aquaculturist is a thoroughly vetted, consolidated resource portal — complete with case studies from a diverse group of industry experts. From developing an initial business plan to selling product at market, our Essential Start Guide charts the course for new aquaculture entrepreneurs. Our initial focus is on the needs of shellfish and sea vegetable producers who make up the bulk of Maine's industry by number, but additional sectors may be added in the future.

Aquaculture in Maine has an unparalleled support ecosystem. There are state agencies and NGO’s focused on aquaculture-specific economic development. Myriad scientific research projects run by colleges, universities, extension agents, and research labs push innovation forward. Maine is also lucky to have sensible regulators, fish vet services providers, business and technical training providers — all on top of an already collaborative industry. Collectively, these organizations provide a comprehensive suite of resources to help aquaculture businesses navigate the complex, but surmountable, challenges of starting and growing a sea farm.

Acknowledgments

The site was made possible by the generous input from Maine sea farmers and industry experts. Special thanks to:

  • Nick Branchina, CEI
  • Chris Davis, Pemaquid Oyster Company & Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center
  • Flora Drury, Department of Marine Resources
  • Joanna Fogg, Bar Harbor Oyster Company
  • Mike Gaffney, Eros Oyster
  • Ben Hamilton and Cameron Barner, Love Point Oysters
  • Lane Hubacz, Basket Island Oyster Company
  • Bill Mook, Mook Sea Farm
  • Matthew Moretti, Bangs Island Mussels
  • Nate Perry, Pine Point Oyster Company
  • Jonathan Turcotte, Glidden Point Oyster Farms
  • Briana Warner & James Crimp, Atlantic Sea Farms

Sponsored in part by:

Project Partners

The Maine Aquaculturist was created by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in partnership with the Maine Aquaculture Association, and sponsored by FocusMaine.

  • Gulf of Maine Research Institute

Site Administrators

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    Carissa Maurin

    Aquaculture Project Manager

    Gulf of Maine Research Institute

    [email protected]
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    Chris Vonderweidt

    Aquaculture Program Manager

    Gulf of Maine Research Institute

    [email protected]