Maine Aquaculture Hub invests more than $200,000 in projects to advance aquaculture innovation in Maine

The Maine Aquaculture Hub is awarding $216,000 in funding to support five projects seeking to strengthen the aquaculture industry in Maine. 

Two funded projects, one from Butterfield Shellfish and the other from the Maine Aquaculture Co-op, will be testing new technology to automate the cleaning process. Keith Butterfield of Butterfield Shellfish, an oyster farm in Casco Bay, will be testing a device that mechanically flips oyster bags. Valued at $9.6 million in 2019, farm-raised oysters represent a large part of Maine’s aquaculture industry.

Caitlin Cleaver, a Maine Aquaculture Co-op board member and University of Maine Ph.D. candidate, will test a sea scallop lantern net washer and determine the feasibility of sharing the machine between farmers. Nate Perry, owner of Pine Point Oyster Co., will develop a less expensive biotoxin testing method for roe-on scallops. Most farmers sell scallop meat only, but roe-on scallops are sold in their shell and fetch a higher price. The cost of testing can prevent farmers from expanding their production.

Peter Rahn, Atlantic Sea Farms production manager and food safety specialist, will add a kelp blancher to increase the company’s capacity for processing kelp. This expansion will allow Atlantic Sea Farms to buy more raw material from kelp farmers across the state.

Robert Wood of the Downeast Fisheries Partnership, will try to expand mussel operations and opportunities by testing cultured seed. Standard practice is for mussel farmers to use wild-recruited seed, which can be unreliable. This study will focus on blue mussels, including the golden mussel.

A full news release is on the Maine Sea Grant website.

Contact: Heather Sadusky,