Our unique Case Study resources are written by industry veterans about steps that are common mistakes, are commonly glossed over, or there is a lack of resources for. Additionally, our industry partners have produced videos that describe how aquaculture businesses do work in Maine.
Mook Sea Farm is an oyster farm founded in 1985 on the Damariscotta River in Midcoast Maine. There, owner and operator Bill Mook unites a passion for science and discovery with a fierce entrepreneurial streak.
Merroir: Jake Patryn, Nautical Kelp Farms
Jake Patryn and his wife, Morgan started Nautical Farms together in Machias, the community where Jake was born and raised. The pair started the company with sustainability in mind and a deep desire to return to their roots in Maine after living in the mid-west. Not only is seaweed a nutrient rich superfood-full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, it aids in keeping the Maine waters it’s grown in pristine. Nautical Farms kelp is harvested by hand off the coast and Jake and Morgan use this versatile sea vegetable in everything from recipes to beauty products.
Merroir: Marsden Brewer, Penbay Farmed Scallops
Penobscot Bay and the archipelago of islands off Stonington is recognized as one of our nation’s outstanding ecological treasures. It is here that fishermen Marsden Brewer and son Bob have been leading Maine into sustainable scallop aquaculture for 25 years. After years of regulations limiting scallop harvest to wild-caught adductor meats only, farmed whole scallops are again available. It’s now time to get acquainted with these premier delicacies.
Merroir: Nate Perry, Kettle Cove Scallops
Nate Perry has been farming his scallops for almost a decade. Hailing from a family of lobstermen, he originally planned to be a musician, but was inspired by the local food movement and a passion to preserve the pristine coast of Maine! His scallops are grown in the mineral rich mud flats of the Scarborough River and then finished in floating bags off of Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth. The result is a complex and unique taste profile with grassy hints and Atlantic brine.
Merroir: Robert Cuddy, Community Shellfish/University of Maine
Robert Cuddy is a research technician and oyster farm manager at Community Shellfish. He is teaching the next generation of aquaculture students from the University of Maine how to manage operations on the working waterfront in Bremen.
Merroir: Alicia Gaiero, Nauti Sisters Sea Farm
Alicia is the owner of Nauti Sisters Sea Farm, a small scale oyster farm on the Royal River in Yarmouth. Alicia is the oldest of 3 girls in the Gaiero family and grew up in the quirky, beautiful town of Belfast. During her senior year at the University of Maine, Alicia began the process of establishing her aquaculture farm. She manages her farm from early spring to late fall until the oysters are put to rest on the seafloor for overwintering.
Merroir: Carter Newell, Pemaquid Mussel Farms
As co-founder of Pemaquid Mussel Farms, Carter Newell has put his Ph.D in marine biology to work for more than four decades. His study of mussel biology and coastal marine ecosystems has made him one of today’s leading shellfish aquaculture scientists. Pemaquid Mussel Farm operations are designed around half a century of research into mussel biology, physiology, and behavior, and about the coastal marine ecosystems in which they thrive. This forms the background to developing the aquaculture techniques and farming locations which produce the best tasting, meatiest, healthiest mussels available.
Merroir: Carter Newell, Pemaquid Oyster Company
Pemaquid Oyster Company was founded in 1986 with the goal of producing the highest quality cultivated American oysters. The oysters are spawned in late winter at a mid-coast hatchery and reared at the summer nerseries in the plankton-rich waters of the Damariscotta River. In late fall, oyster seeds are bottom planted on growing beds. Harvested year round, Pemaquid Oysters are held in the cold, briny waters of Clark’s Cove near the river’s mouth, where the oysters obtain their distinctive clean, salty and refreshing flavor.
Due to their proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, Cora Cressy Oysters benefit from fresh sea water with each incoming tide. This inflow of nutrients, coupled with the rich food supply of the Medomak River and Muscongus Bay, gives the oysters a strong briny flavor and a sweet finish. Boe Marsh uses century-old lobster pounds as oyster beds which offer an excellent opportunity to create a controlled environment in the open ocean. At each low tide, the pounds are warmed by the sun promoting algae growth. This increased algae production provides extra food for the oysters twice a day.
Merroir: Andrew Peters, Vertical Bay Scallop Farms
Andrew and his wife Samantha own Vertical Bay Scallop Farms. Their scallops live long and happy lives, some spending over 3 years under their care. They will have been handled many times during this period – graded for size, ear-hung and pinned, cleaned numerous times, and finally selected and cleaned again for harvest. They hope you appreciate the journey these animals have undergone and the care it has taken for them to reach your plate. Their scallops are guaranteed to be as fresh as they come – harvester to order. This means they only take from the farm the scallops that will be sold on any given day, guaranteeing superior quality and flavor.
Merroir: Krista Tripp, Aphrodite Oysters
Krista Tripp grows Aphrodite Oysters on 22 lines and has 3 different locations in the lower Weskeag River-a seed site, grow site and purge site. Aphrodites are meaty oysters with a strong forward brine balanced with an underlying sweetness that lingers after the initial brine subsides. They grow in strong current and cold ocean waters. In the winter, Krista sinks her oysters at a location downriver where the water is deeper, so the oysters don’t freeze. The South Thomaston region is cold so it takes 3-4 years to plump up to market size.
Merroir: Tyler Niven, Mere Point Oysters
Mere Point Oyster Company was formed in 2015, when Doug Niven and Dan Devereaux’s mutual love of community and preservation of the natural ecosystem intersected. Oysters are an amazing, environmentally beneficial species and a direct product of where and how they are raised. They clean the seawater through filtration and provide a habitat for many different types of marine life. Mere Point Oysters are grown in the deep, clear waters of the Maquoit and Mere Point Bays in surface culture, meaning they never touch the sea floor. This results in a clean, sweet taste. The business is family owned and operated in Brunswick where Doug and Dan grew up and raised their children, including Doug’s son Tyler. Mere Point’s mission is to support working waterfronts along the coast. They’ve added 250,000+ oysters to the bays since 2017 and can now be found at markets and restaurants nationwide.
Merroir: Brendan Parsons, Blackstone Point Oysters
Brendan Parsons is the owner of Blackstone Point Oysters and the Shuck Station Raw Bar in Newcastle, Maine. Following his graduation from the University of Maine, Brendan created Portland’s first ever oyster food cart. In 2016, he launched his oyster farm and opened the Shuck Station in 2017. Brendan’s oysters are raised in three different sites in the cold, clear waters of the Damariscotta River, giving them a distinctive and well-known Merroir. The oysters are served at his restaurant immediately after harvest, as well as shipped to customers across the country.
Merroir: Dave Cheney, John’s River Oysters
Dave Cheney is the owner of John’s River Oysters on the Damariscotta River. He is a pioneering oyster farmer, one of the few who harvest by diving!
Merroir: Ben Lord, Madeleine Point Oysters
Ben Lord is the General Manager of Madeleine Point Oyster Farm in Yarmouth. Madeleine Point is family-owned and operated, founded by Thomas Henninger who is also co-owner of the Freeport Oyster Bar. He started harvesting oysters out of a desire to start an environmentally friendly business he could run with his wife and two sons. They’re now producing 6,000+ oysters a week, and have 1.5 million in cultivation. Madeleine Points are grown in surface culture, in the top 10 inches of the cold, nutrient-rich waters of Casco Bay. Special care is taken in raising these distinctive Maine oysters, which are full bodied with a briny, sweet merroir.
Merroir: Matt Moretti, Bangs Island Mussels
Matt Moretti is the owner of Bangs Island Mussels. His mussels are hand-raised in the cool, clean waters of Casco Bay. Since 1999, his mussels have been cultivated in complete harmony with their environment.
Merroir: Sara Rademaker, American Unagi
Sara Rademaker is the founder and CEO of Maine’s first eel farm, American Unagi, based in Waldoboro. She started the business with a desire to raise Maine eels locally, instead of shipping them abroad. American Unagi uses a land based aquaculture system. Eels are caught by local fisherman from Maine rivers when they are tiny, and then brought in to be grown to harvest size. The company supplies restaurants and chefs all over the country.
KELP ME FIND SOME SEAWEED! | Bri at Atlantic Sea Farms | Local Legends Ep 4 | Brad Leone
I can't kelp it guys... I love seaweed.
I've known Bri Warner ever since she helped me out with the seaweed page of my cookbook - she's the CEO of Atlantic Sea Farms in Portland, ME, and she has completely changed my perspective on kelp. and now we're about to change YOURS
Many thanks to everyone at ASF, our new favorite kelp farmers, and the lovely folks at Luke's Lobster for your hospitality and pronunciation lessons.
Learn more about Atlantic Sea Farms: https://atlanticseafarms.com/
Go visit Luke's next time you're in Maine | @lukeslobster
Seaweed Aquaculture as Habitat
Restorative aquaculture may be one of the best opportunities to simultaneously restore marine ecosystems and provide nutritious food for current and future populations. When done well and in the right places seaweed aquaculture can provide habitat, for fish and other animals to shelter, feed and reproduce. In partnership with the University of New England and University of Auckland, The Nature Conservancy is researching the role of seaweed aquaculture as habitat, and what drives this role so that restorative aquaculture can be developed in geographies across the world.
The Story Exchange - In Maine, Seaweed Farming Helps Save Jobs and the Planet | Women Entrepreneurs
Fast-growing kelp can help mitigate the impact of climate change by removing carbon and nitrogen from the water. And compared with land plants and animal meats, kelp is loaded with digestive and nutritional benefits. Yet 95% of edible seaweed is imported – something Briana Warner, CEO of Atlantic Sea Farms is on a mission to change. Briana is partnering with Maine lobster farmers to grow and harvest kelp in their offseason, which helps diversify their income.
Rookie Mistakes to Avoid
Bob Rheault, ECSGA Executive Director, narrates his presentation Rookie Mistakes to Avoid. It covers a range of common mistakes and costly errors that he has seen growers make - both new ones and established old salts.
The Story of Bar Harbor Oyster Company
Joanna Fogg and her husband Jesse grew up near Bar Harbor and share a passion for working on the sea. After years of working overseas, separated by miles of land and sea, they yearned to build something closer to home. In 2014, they started Bar Harbor Oyster Company to support their family, the local ecosystem, and their dreams. Their "Bar Harbor Blondes" now adorn the tables of many local restaurants and homes. Their farm is a staple in the community, and a strong example of how aquaculture can diversify the working waterfront and build a bright future for young people on Maine's coast.
Stewardship at Work on Frenchman Bay
For the de Koning family, Frenchman Bay isn't just a special place they get to call home – it's their livelihood. Since bringing their family trade of Dutch-style mussel farming to Bar Harbor over 15 years ago, they've worked tirelessly to produce quality Maine mussels and serve as dedicated stewards of the bay on which they live, work, and recreate. Check out Hollander and de Koning to learn more about how they're diversifying and strengthening Maine's iconic working waterfront.
Coming Home to Farm Oysters
Graham Platner grew up in the small town of Sullivan just east of Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. Graham and his family spent time on Frenchman Bay as a child, before he moved overseas to Iraq and Afghanistan to serve in the infantry.
Virtual Farm Tours for Aquaculture in Shared Waters (2021)
These virtual farm tours were hosted by the Aquaculture in Shared Waters team as well as the Maine Fishermen's Forum on May 19th, 2021. The goal of the tour was to give AQSW students a virtual field trip where they could gather advice and practical knowledge directly from sea farmers.
How an Eel Farm Grows and Smokes Eels for Top Sushi Restaurants
On this episode of 'Dan Does,' host Dan Geneen (instagram.com/danielgeneen) visits American Unagi, the country’s only glass eel farm. See how the process and facilities work, and learn about how founder and CEO Sara Rademaker grows her product to be sold live to restaurants and chefs.
How a High Tech Mussel Farm Harvests 7,000 Pounds of Mussels per Day
On this episode of 'Dan Does,' host Dan Geneen (instagram.com/danielgeneen) visits Bangs Island Farm in Maine’s Casco Bay to understand how rope-grown mussels are sustainably raised, harvested, and processed with high-tech machines.
Maine Coast Harvest - Emily Selinger & Amanda Moeser
A series of short documentary films designed to share the stories of Maine’s sea farmers. “All I did was give Emily one floating line of rope in the ocean, and that sparked a livelihood for her.” Amanda’s small gesture of kindness allowed Emily to imagine a life on the water she hadn’t considered before - as an oyster farmer.
Maine Coast Harvest - Jake Patryn & Morgan-Lea Fogg
A series of short documentary films designed to share the stories of Maine’s sea farmers. Jake and Morgan were looking for a way to get back to Maine and build a business on the water that they could call their own. When seaweed farming crossed their paths, it was a surprising but perfect fit.
Maine Coast Harvest - John Cotton & Toni Small
A series of short documentary films designed to share the stories of Maine’s sea farmers. Lifelong commercial fisherman John Cotton was unsure about growing oysters, but his excitement for new adventure on the water was too strong to keep him from diving in headfirst
Krista Tripp's Labor of Love: Aphrodite Oysters
Part of Maine Aquaculture Association's video series. Growing up in a fishing family, Krista always knew that her destiny was to captain her own lobster boat. As a third generation lobsterman, she understands the hard work, passion, and grit that comes with the territory. No doubt, she's one of the hardest working people we've ever met. It wasn't until later in life that she fell in love with another type of work: oyster farming.
Harvesting Kelp with Bangs Island Mussels
Part of Maine Aquaculture Association's video series. Matt Moretti's famous Bangs Island Mussels are a staple of restaurant menus here in Maine. But delicious, bursting-with-meat mussels aren't the only crop he's got growing in the cold waters of Casco Bay.
Why Kelp Farming is the Perfect Complement to Lobstering | Keith Miller & Atlantic Sea Farms
Part of Maine Aquaculture Association's video series, lobsterman Keith Miller of Spruce Head, Maine, looks to diversify his business by farming kelp — a crop which runs countercyclical to the lobstering season. Keith has partnered with Atlantic Sea Farms, which provides his seed each fall and purchases his harvested kelp every spring. Atlantic Sea Farms turns freshly harvested kelp into delicious, fresh kelp foods. CEO Bri Warner discusses the important role aquaculture can play in diversifying our marine economy and sustaining traditional livelihoods along the coast of Maine.
Nate Perry on oysters, scallops, & coexisting
Part of Maine Aquaculture Association's video series, Nate Perry gives us a tour of his aquaculture site in Kettle Cove, Cape Elizabeth. Growing up in a lobstering family, Nate wanted to find a way to continue working on the water, so he started his own sea farm. He serves as a liaison between the lobstering and aquaculture communities to ensure we coexist peacefully with our fishing neighbors and friends.
The Faces of Maine's Working Waterfront: Marshall Cove Mussel Farm
Part of Maine Aquaculture Association's video series, this film highlights Marshall Cove Mussel Farm, owned by Josh and Shey Conover of Islesboro in Penobscot Bay. Josh has been lobstering around the island since his childhood, but has always had an interest in doing things a bit differently. When Shey was introduced to aquaculture at the Island Institute, the young couple was inspired to start a mussel farm using wooden rafts to produce premium rope-grown Maine mussels. Their story is a testament to the diversity of businesses that help sustain Maine's working waterfront.
The Faces of Maine's Working Waterfront – Cooke Aquaculture
Part of Maine Aquaculture Association's video series, this video highlights Cooke Aquaculture, a family-owned company that has been raising Atlantic salmon Down East for over 35 years. Today, the company has grown to provide over 200 jobs in Maine, and has helped diversify the working waterfront in the state while providing a source of healthy, local, sustainable seafood for consumers.
Maine Coast Harvest - Karen Cooper
A series of short documentary films designed to share the stories of Maine’s sea farmers. Karen had no doubt that kelp farming would be a great complement to her lobstering, her father Foy on the other hand, needed a little more convincing.
Maine Coast Harvest - Adam Campbell
A series of short documentary films designed to share the stories of Maine’s sea farmers. Adam’s oyster farm has helped support his fishing and his family for the past two decades. Now he’s passing his knowledge on to his son and other young Mainers looking for new ways to be part of the working waterfront.
Aquaculture’s Next Wave
Oyster Farming on the Damariscotta River with Mook Sea Farm produced by Maine Public Video Production