The University of Maine purchased the 25 acre property in 1999. 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 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 charr were both grown here.

The facility is located on Taunton Bay in Franklin Maine. The location is stunningly beautiful and home to a huge variety of wildlife including horseshoe crabs, bald eagles, bears, moose, blue herons, bobcats, tree frogs and seals.

After taking over the property in 1999 we set about modernizing and expanding the facilities, upgrading the systems to include innovative recirculating technologies, waste water treatment systems and to comply with all relevant building and safety codes. In 2003 we built the “MTI Cluster Enhancement” funded buildings to add 1,200 m^2 (13,300 SF) of multi purpose space for business incubation and R&D. In 2005 we added the marine fish hatchery, a 2,200 m^2 (24,000 SF) facility to enable us to produce a variety of marine fish for the industry. More recently we have completed a number of systems in the new hatchery and completely renovated the two nursery/growout systems Unit 2 and 3, each with a 100 cubic meter capacity.

Our initial focus was cold water marine fish, including Atlantic halibut and Atlantic cod and we continue to work with those species, developing the technology as well as physical capacity to farm them. We also work with invertebrates and marine algas including polychaete worms, sea urchins and nori.

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

The CCAR is part of the Department of Industrial Cooperation (DIC), which provides the interface between the University of Maine’s research and development resources and the commercial sector.

The goals of the CCAR

  • Assist the aquaculture industry in developing new technologies for existing species and to diversify into new species
  • Demonstrate aquaculture of marine species
  • Provide state of the art facilities for business incubation
  • Develop techniques for sustainable aquaculture including integrated aquaculture techniques
  • Produce marine finfish juveniles for commercial ongrowing
  • Develop and transfer aquaculture technology
  • To train staff and students in aquaculture techniques