With careful planning, we can make Maine a hub of aquaculture production while adhering to environmental and sustainability standards.
In an op-ed published by the Portland Press Herald, Barry Costa-Pierce, Ph.D., Henry L. & Grace Doherty Professor of Marine Sciences and executive director of UNE NORTH: Institute for North Atlantic Studies, says we should welcome the aquaculture industry’s proposed investments in our state.
Costa-Pierce writes that missing from the ongoing conversation we Mainers are having about the proposed development of large-scale aquaculture projects in our state is an acknowledgment of the cascading benefits these projects would bring with them.
“Beyond the impact of the fish they would produce, these farms would create jobs at multiple levels of our local workforce,” writes Costa-Pierce. “They would promote growth in hatcheries, feed production, processing, waste reutilization, transportation, supplies, machinery, financial services and other industries.”
He says the University of New England is playing its part by developing real-world marine aquaculture farms and a land-based recirculating training facility, and offering traditional degree programs in marine biology, as well as programs in aquaculture, marine entrepreneurship and ocean food systems.
Costa-Pierce explains conversations about proposed aquaculture facilities in Belfast and Brunswick are occurring throughout rural areas of our coastal world.
“I just spent six months in Sweden, Iceland and Norway,” he writes. “In nearly every rural area I went, aquaculture is being viewed as part of a more sustainable economic future.”
Costa-Pierce pointed out that Maine is fortunate to already possess signature products such as Maine blueberries and Maine lobster. Now, we can add to our portfolio by defining Maine as a state on the cutting edge of the aquaculture industry.
“Maine salmon, Maine oysters and Maine sushi have a nice ring to them, don’t they?,” he concluded.