SOE Graduate Student Nick Alvarez leads report on Maine Marine Aquaculture

SOE Graduate Student Nick Alvarez is the lead author on the recently completed 2019 Maine Marine Aquaculture Survey Results Technical Report. As part of the Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture Network (SEANET), Nick worked with a team of researchers on the report, including William Somes, Caroline Noblet, Keith Evans, Kofi Britwum, and Mario Teisl. The SOE-based team administered the survey to address research questions about public awareness, information needs, and market potential. They analyzed survey responses provided by over 800 Maine coastal residents. Two key findings from their research about public awareness and preferences include widespread awareness of aquaculture as well as a desire to know more about aquaculture. While Maine residents have generally been exposed to the idea of aquaculture, most respondents wanted to learn more about aquaculture and had limited knowledge of the permitting process in place for aquaculture. Further, a majority of respondents believed aquaculture had relatively little impact on their personal coastal usage. Survey respondents had generally positive perceptions of aquaculture but most wanted to ensure they had a say in future development, including potentially limiting the size of future farms. Most of our respondents who eat seafood also recognized that they have likely consumed a seafood product produced by Maine aquaculture, and respondents reported varied habits to search for information about their seafood products. As Maine’s Seafood Producers navigate the challenges of COVID-19 and changing economic conditions, insights from consumers and residents about aquaculture and other seafood  products offer guidance for next steps. Findings from this work also offer guidance to broader efforts to support Maine’s Seafood Industry, including the recently announced Maine Seafood Branding initiative by the Maine Department of Marine Resources.
To access the full report, click here.