Resources for Shellfish Growers - Welcome Page and Industry Overview

Welcome to the Resources for Shellfish Growers pages!

This site is primarily to give Maine shellfish producers information that will help them improve their businesses, and to inform others of the issues relating to biology, husbandry techniques and equipment, regulations, science, business development and the market.  Please browse at your leisure, and contact us if you have questions or suggestions for material to post.  

Industry Overview
The shellfish aquaculture industry in Maine began over 30 years ago, primarily through research and development activities at the Darling Marine Center, of the University of Maine.  Several students found that their research had application in the business world, and the industry was born.  Today, approximately 80 shellfish leases account for nearly 600 acres in Maine's coastal waters, with a farm-gate value of approximately $4 million.  Principal species are the Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) and the blue mussel (Mytilus edulis), with some production of European oyster (Ostrea edulis), hard clam (Mercenaria mercenaria).  Other bivalves such as the surf clam (Spisula solidissima), sea scallop (Placopecten magellanicus), soft-shell clam (Mya arenaria), bay scallop (Aequipecten irradians) and the razor clam (Ensis directus) are either cultured occasionally or are in development, as is the green sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis).



Principal management authority over marine aquaculture lies with the Maine Dept. of Marine Resources, and their aquaculture pages, are a helpful source of information about the industry: leasing and permits, laws and regulations, rosters of leaseholders, production statistics, and science.  Other groups or agencies that are involved in shellfish aquaculture policy, research, education and development include: the Maine Aquaculture Association, the Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center, The Downeast Institute, and the Herring Gut Learning Center.

The University of Maine has a variety of departments, campuses and associated organizations that perform research, education, policy and outreach, including: the Aquaculture Institute, the Darling Marine Center, the Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research, and the School of Marine Sciences.  

A good overview of the industry is also to be found in the 2009 Situation and Outlook Report for Maine Aquaculture.

Thank you for visiting this site, we hope that you will find it useful.  Please get in contact with questions, or to suggest information that would improve the usefulness of these pages.