Seabait Maine LLC
Seabait (Maine) LLC was formed by parent company Seabait Ltd in the UK. One of the company founders, Peter Cowin moved to Maine to establish operations here in 2001. Seabait worked with the CCAR to develop the worlds first indoor recirculating marine polychaete worm farm. The market for sandworms as fishing bait in the USA is well established but now under-supplied due to declining wild catches. There is also a worldwide market for frozen sandworms as a high value, pathogen free shrimp broodstock feed.
Seabait Ltd (UK) were a world pioneer of sustainable mass culture of marine polychaete worms (seaworms) supplied to anglers as bait and to fish farmers as highly nutritious feed components, reliably year round without the need for exploiting wild stocks in environmentally sensitive areas. The company’s activities in Maine were funded first by two MTI Seed Grants and finally an MTI Development Award.
The CCAR provided Seabait Maine LLC with the technology for marine recirculation systems and in 2003 we constructed a demonstration growout system capable of growing up to 2.5 million worms to harvest size per year (approximately 7 metric tons). The production methods proved extremely successful and the business was shown to be commercially viable at only a slightly larger scale than this demonstration system.
In 2008 Seabait Ltd went into receivership and Seabait Maine LLC was dissolved. The CCAR continues to carry out research into marine polychaete worm aquaculture and it is hoped that this species will be one of the next candidates for Maine aquaculture.