Aquaculture in Shared Waters

Classes: AQSW 2017 | AQSW 2016 | AQSW 2015 | AQSW 2013 
Related research projects: R-12-14


About the project

Photo of seaweed class with fisherman of the Corea Lobstermen's Co-op
A class discussing seaweed culture, with Corea fishermen. Left to right: Justin Dunbar, Karen Pianka (UMaine), Chris Urqhart, Sarah Redmond (Maine Sea Grant), Joe Young, Chris Davis (Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center), Cameron Hardison

The Aquaculture in Shared Waters program prepares fishermen to start an aquaculture venture, with associated research to understand the attitudes, perceptions and knowledge of fishermen with respect to this change. The project builds on some very successful and innovative earlier programming by the Maine Aquaculture Association and the Maine Aquaculture Training Institute.

Income diversity for commercial fishermen in Maine is an important issue, given their overwhelming reliance on the American lobster. Access to permits, and allocations of resources like scallops, groundfish, or urchins, are scarce. The ability for an individual fisherman to move from one fishery to another during the course of a year has been severely limited over recent decades.

At the same time, the demand for shellfish grown in Maine has been strong and steady, and consequently several Maine fishermen have become involved in aquaculture. The convergence of capture and culture for seafood production is potentially a very powerful mechanism to harness the expertise of Maine’s fishermen, to tap into the potential of the marketplace, and to produce the high-quality seafood that Maine is known for.

Photo of a group of people on a mussel raft
Fishermen from the Harpswell group visiting a mussel raft on the Damariscotta, 2013.

The project uses a mix of meetings and field trips/site visits to introduce students to the issues important in running a successful aquaculture business. As with any kind of marine profession, there is a lot to know, and so we cover a variety of topics, including: site selection, equipment and husbandry, permitting and regulation, environmental monitoring, marketing and sales, farm management and biosecurity, business planning, and financial management. We cover all these topics as they relate to a range of species and crops: oysters, mussels, clams, seaweed, scallops, etc. Guest speakers and experts in the field are a regular part of the program, and by the time students finish the class, they will have a good network of people and agencies to draw from, and the beginnings of a reference library, that will help them in all aspects of aquaculture production. All instructors are available outside of class meeting times as well, to help students get started on their new farms.

Funding comes from the National Sea Grant Program, and the project has benefitted from partnerships between several organizations: University of Maine School of Marine SciencesMaine Sea GrantUniv. of Maine Cooperative ExtensionMaine Aquaculture AssociationMaine Aquaculture Innovation CenterCoastal Enterprises Inc., and the Island Institute.

To learn more about the research program, please contact:

Teresa Johnson, PhD.
Assistant Professor

School of Marine Sciences
University of Maine
200 Libby Hall
Orono, ME 04469
(207) 581-4362

To learn more about the project in general, please contact:

Dana L. Morse
Extension Associate

Maine Sea Grant and University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Darling Marine Center
193 Clark's Cove Road
Walpole, ME 04573
(207) 563-8186
Cell (207) 841-4899