About Us

The University of Maine purchased the 25 acre property in 1999.  The location on Taunton Bay in Franklin Maine is stunningly beautiful and home to wildlife such as horseshoe crabs, bald eagles, bears, moose, blue herons, bobcats, tree frogs and seals.

The site’s history as an aquaculture facility began ten years earlier when Penobscot Salmon built what was at the time a state of the art recirculating salmon farm.  That company raised salmon to smolt stage in the land based farm and then moved the fish out to net pens in nearby Frenchman Bay.  The facility changed ownership a number of times between 1989 and 1999. Atlantic salmon and Arctic char were both grown here.

After taking over the property in 1999 we set about modernizing and expanding the facilities, upgrading the aquaculture systems to include innovative recirculating technologies and waste water treatment, and bringing the facility up-to-date with building and safety codes.  In 2003 the Maine Aquaculture Business Incubator (MABI) building was constructed with funds from a Maine Technology Institute Cluster Enhancement award, adding 1,200 m2 (11,500 SF) of multi purpose space for business incubation and R&D.  In 2005 we built the  Taunton Bay Hatchery  with funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.  This state-of-the-art  facility was designed as a multi-species fish hatchery to produce marine fish juveniles for industry and research.  The marine hatchery continues to evolve as new species, such as California yellowtail, are reared for the very first time in Maine.  In 2009 we installed  new rearing systems in the hatchery and renovated some older systems.  The CCAR continues to grow and change with every passing year. Recent additions include the 21,500 SF Maine Aquaculture Technology Lab built in 2013, which houses two in-ground 1,100 m3 tanks, and a bunkhouse to provide housing for workers and researchers.  We now have close to 100,000 SF of lab, tank room, and business incubator space.

Our initial focus was on developing aquaculture for cold or temperate water marine fish such as  Atlantic halibut and Atlantic cod, and we continue to improve the technology and physical capacity to farm them.  More recently we have expanded to warm water species found in more tropical waters, such as California yellowtail (Seriola lalandi).  We also work with invertebrates and marine algae including polychaete worms, sea urchins and nori.

In 2005 construction began on the USDA Agriculture Research Service National Cold Water Marine Aquaculture Center.  This is co-located with the CCAR and the two facilities share much of their water supply and waste discharge infrastructure.  Together, the two facilities make up one of the most modern and effective aquaculture research and development campuses in the world.

Contact and Driving Directions

If you would like to visit CCAR or need more information, contact us:

Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research
33 Salmon Farm Rd
Franklin, ME 04634, USA
Phone: 207.422.8918

Directions from Ellsworth, ME:  Follow Route 1 downeast through village of Hancock, cross bridge over Taunton Bay, take 1st left onto Taunton Drive, proceed about 2.5 miles down Taunton Drive to South Bay Road, turn left onto Salmon Farm Road, and proceed straight through gate at bottom of drive to enter facility.  No unannounced visitors please!  Visits and tours must be arranged in advance.

For information on our lodging policy, click here:  Bunkhouse policy PDF