Sen. Susan Collins, vice chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced that she advanced $7 million in congressionally directed spending to establish an Aquaculture Workforce Innovation Center at the University of Maine in the fiscal year 2024 commerce, justice, and science appropriations bill.
“Maine’s aquaculture industry has seen significant growth over recent years, but more needs to be done to support its expansion and economic opportunity in our state,” Collins said. “This funding would strengthen UMaine’s position as the nation’s premier research and training resource for the aquaculture industry.
“Our state is recognized nationally as a leader in cold-water aquaculture, said Deborah Bouchard, director of UMaine’s Aquaculture Research Institute, “in great part due to UMaine’s expertise in aquatic animal health and fish nutrition research. This funding would allow us to construct a state-of-the-art workforce training and testing center where UMaine faculty and student researchers, as well as land-based aquaculture businesses, can work together to develop the talent and innovation this growing industry needs to realize its full potential.”
Funding for this project would support the construction of the Aquaculture Workforce and Innovation Center, a 15,000-square-foot, functional state-of-the-art cold-water demonstration, training, and research facility located on UMaine’s Orono campus.