Analysis sees promise for Maine aquaculture

With its clean, cold waters, its proximity to large markets and its wide open coastline, Maine’s farmed oyster, mussel and scallop industries are poised to more than quadruple in value over 15 years, according to a new report from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute.

Right now, Maine produces $24 million worth of oysters, mussels and scallops a year, 4 percent of the $700 million national market. Aquaculture accounts for about a quarter of Maine’s shellfish, worth about $6.5 million a year, according to state data.

But a market analysis prepared for GMRI by The Hale Group, the Massachusetts-based food and agribusiness consultancy, predicts that Maine’s shellfish aquaculture industry will grow to $30 million by 2030, which gave Maine ocean farmers and groups that work with them, like GMRI, reason to cheer.

“The major finding is the significant room for growth in farmed oyster, mussel, and scallop sectors at a scope and scale that fits with Maine’s working waterfront culture,” concluded GMRI in the report that it unveiled Wednesday.

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About the author

Jessica Hathaway

Jessica Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman. She has been covering the fishing industry for 13 years, serves on the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s Communications Committee and is a National Fisheries Conservation Center board member.

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