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Hatchery Manager

Mook Sea Farm Walpole, ME

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Mook Sea Farm, founded in 1985, is a science-based, vertically integrated oyster farm on the Damariscotta River, Maine. Our hatchery produces about 100 million juvenile seed annually for sale to other oyster growers along the East Coast. We also hold nearly 50 acres of prime leases in the Damariscotta River where we grow oysters to market size.

We continually strive to improve seed quality as well as production efficiency and capacity. Our hatchery staff is expected to carry out daily tasks with an eye towards continuous process improvement, scientific observation, and discussion. We place great importance on standardization of procedures, attention to detail, problem-solving, and ongoing research and development.

The Hatchery Manager will be responsible for management of the hatchery and microalgae production, including conditioning, spawning, larval culture, setting, feeding, and leadership for all staff involved in those processes.

Applicants for this position are being considered on an ongoing basis.

Location: 321 State Route 129, Walpole, ME 04573

Job Type: Full-Time

Number of Openings: 1

Pay Range: Negotiable

Pay Structure: Bi-Weekly

Reports to: Chief Operating Officer


  • Health Insurance
  • Health Savings Account
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vision Insurance
  • Short-Term Disability Insurance
  • SIMPLE IRA Retirement Plan with a 3% Employer Match
  • Paid Time Off


  • 8 – 10 Hour Shifts
  • Generally, Monday – Friday
  • Working holidays are rotated among the hatchery staff during the hatchery season (Ability to “Bank” them for later use)
  • Weekend shifts during the hatchery season on a rotating basis with the Hatchery Technicians/Specialists
  • Required availability & response to alarm calls within 1 hour of receiving a call on a rotating basis with the Hatchery Technicians/Specialists

Physical Requirements

While this is primarily a management position with a focus on overseeing the work of others, the Hatchery Manager will be doing the work associated with growing oysters and should:

  • Be able to lift, push and/or pull at least 50 pounds
  • Have the physical strength, balance, hand-eye coordination, and stamina necessary to work for eight hours or more while standing and moving through tight spaces
  • Have the manual dexterity needed to operate a variety of equipment
  • Be tolerant to exposure to typical hatchery noises and disinfectants

Education, Skills, & Experience

Candidates for this position should have a strong background in biology and marine sciences and experience managing teams of people in a labor-intensive environment where attention to detail is of the utmost importance. The ideal candidate would have experience working in a shellfish hatchery.

We are seeking a Professional Hatchery Manager with the following expertise and practical experience:

  • At least three years of experience in a position of Leadership/People Management
  • Clear, direct, and consistent communication (both written and verbal)
  • Excellent organization and time management skills
  • A collaborative approach to problem solving
  • Ability to work systematically, think critically, and problem solve
  • Understanding of scientific method and data collection
  • Experience collecting and monitoring data
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite & Google Workspace for Business.
  • Ability to create and implement standard operating procedures (SOPs) and checklists
  • A willingness to work in a variety of challenging conditions
  • A valid driver’s license and reliable transportation to and from work is required

Essential Duties

The Hatchery Manager is accountable for successful production of our oyster seed and the microalgae we grow for food using fermentation technology in a cleanroom and using typical phototrophic means. This includes managing inventory of our oyster seed and effectively allocating/distributing the seed for customer order fulfillment and for internal use at Mook Sea Farm. The Hatchery Manager is expected to prepare, lead, and train the hatchery staff (8 to 10 people) in their shared responsibility to operate the hatchery and properly maintain all hatchery facilities.

The Hatchery Manager will:

  • Collaborate with the Management Team to review production needs, set production goals, and establish a spawning schedule for each season.
  • Determine food requirements and set a production schedule for microalgae production.
  • Maintain detailed feeding and production data to evaluate and improve production
  • Use the scientific method to collect and maintain data and to solve problems as they arise
  • Maximize production output while upholding Mook Sea Farm’s standards for quality and cleanliness.
  • Implement a thorough training program for our staff and facilitate ongoing process and personnel reviews with an interest in continued improvement.
  • Oversee the hatchery staff and maintain accountability.
  • Organize year-end hatchery debriefs and develop the off-season to do list.
  • Coordinate with the Facilities Manager and continually review the hatchery facilities and equipment to ensure that all necessary maintenance and system modifications are completed during and prior to each hatchery season.
  • Ensure hatchery facilities and equipment are clean, organized, and well-maintained.
  • Collaborate in short and long-term Research & Development planning aimed at improving seed quality and production.
  • Oversee and facilitate hatchery related Research & Development projects.
  • Purchase and manage inventory of supplies, materials, and parts for the department (with input from the Manager of Facilities & Equipment on applicable projects)

HR & Supervision

The Hatchery Manager is responsible for the supervision of hatchery staff, both through direct observation and ongoing feedback. They should have excellent management and leadership skills and be able to set and maintain an atmosphere with a high level of accountability and teamwork.

The Hatchery Manager is responsible for:

  • Facilitating constant review and thorough execution of training programs rooted in continuous process improvement.
  • Maintaining SOPs, checklists, and an up-to-date hatchery operation manual.
  • Organizing and overseeing the schedules and delegation of work for staff, including setting weekend and holiday schedules to ensure adequate coverage for essential operations on a fair and rotating basis.
  • Cultivating and maintaining a team culture that values, recognizes, and generates high performance and collaboration while supporting innovation and challenging the status quo.
  • Contributing to discussions, with The Management Team, about Mook Sea Farm’s mission/values/vision with an interest in optimizing organizational output and increasing profit margins.
  • Fostering efficient, respectful, and constructive communication/collaboration throughout the company to promote environmentally responsible practices and to carry out Mook Sea Farm’s mission statement.
  • Participating in the hiring and interviewing process for hatchery staffing.

Schedule and Pay

This is a full-time, year-round job with benefits and a salary pay structure. Our paydays are bi-weekly on Thursdays. During the off season, the schedule is Monday – Friday, however, the hatchery operates 24/7 during the production season. The shifts are scheduled for 8AM – 4PM daily and our goal is to maintain a 40-hour work week.

Working holiday’s, weekend work, and being on-call for questions or alarm responses is a responsibility that is rotated with other hatchery personnel. Employees can “bank” holidays for future Paid Time Off. During times of the year when the hatchery is not operating or is operating with a reduced load (August – December), the responsibilities shift to include hatchery maintenance and preparation for the next hatchery season.

The hatchery production season starts up slowly in November when broodstock oysters are brought in for conditioning. Spawning typically begins in late December/early January. As the first cohorts progress and more spawns are done, the hatchery fills up (usually by early March). From then until late spring, when the last spawn is done, the schedule is very full. The workload lightens up as the final cohorts of seed make their way out of the hatchery. During the peak hatchery season, the number of hours worked/week may exceed 40 hours.

The hatchery is equipped with numerous float switches and other sensors that alert hatchery staff when problems occur. Upon receiving an alarm-call, the responding employee is expected to arrive to identify and hopefully correct the problem within one hour of receiving the call. During the production season, the Hatchery Manager may need to be consulted even if they are not the on-call employee. However, we do our best to respect employees’ work-life balance and try to avoid this situation.

Pay will be determined by expertise and experience and will reflect the crucial role this person plays in the success of the farm.

How to Apply

To apply, please send a cover letter, your resume, and three references to Ethan Wegrecki at [email protected]

Applications are accepted starting immediately and will be reviewed as they are received. Mook Sea Farm is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

COVID-19 Precautions

We follow state and federal CDC guidelines regarding mask wearing, social distancing, and sanitizing. All new employee’s must be vaccinated against COVID-19 and are expected to present their Vaccine Record Card on their first day of employment.