Island Institute planting seeds for 10-fold increase in Maine’s aquaculture industry

Posted 2019-02-01

Laurie Schreiber / Mainebiz

Since its inception in 2015, Island Institute’s Aquaculture Business Development program has had 75 individuals go through the program, with 20 starting businesses that have contributed an estimated $3.1 million to Maine’s economy.

By 2020, the program’s goal is to have helped start 60 businesses with an overall impact on Maine’s economy totaling $36 million, according to the institute’s Jan. 28 news release.

The Island Institute is accepting applications for its 2019 Aquaculture Business Development program. The free program helps fishermen and those from fishing communities gain the tools they need to diversify and launch small-scale aquaculture businesses.

The Island Institute is looking to work with coastal and island residents who are highly motivated to start a shellfish or seaweed aquaculture businesses within the next two years. Applications are being accepted through March 14.

“Maine’s emerging aquaculture industry has a lot of opportunity and growth potential. The Aquaculture Business Development program provides both the academic and experiential learning tools to enter that growing arena,” Peter Piconi, marine business specialist with the Island Institute, said in the release. “More importantly, fisherman can diversify their income which, in turn, helps island and coastal economies thrive. We are excited to help a new group of individuals gain the tools they need to launch their aquaculture businesses.”

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