Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today announced $2.12 million in federal funding to strengthen Maine’s aquaculture industry. Awarded through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Sea Grant program, the funding will support sustainable aquaculture projects at the Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center and the University of Maine Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research, as well as the continued financing of additional projects at the University of Maine and Maine Sea Grant.
“Year after year, the Sea Grant program protects thousands of acres of coastal ecosystems, generates hundreds of millions of dollars in economic development and creates thousands of jobs across the country,” said Pingree. “As a longtime supporter of the Sea Grant program and advocate for it through my role on the House Appropriations Committee, I am delighted that aquaculture projects in Maine are being invested in. This funding is another example how Sea Grant fosters innovation and entrepreneurship to support Maine’s waterfront and coastal communities.
Projects funded in Maine include:
- Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center: $749,999
“Cracking the Shell”: A Collaborative Approach to Developing Atlantic Sea Scallop Hatchery Production
This 3-year project will establish reliable best practices for sea scallop larval rearing and establishment protocols, identify sea scallop hatchery microbiomes based on their health status, and examine sea scallop larval immunocompetence. and its relevance to larval survival. Additionally, the project will establish reliable best practices for sea scallop broodstock conditioning and spawning, assess the economics of commercial-scale hatchery production, and engage stakeholders to create a community of practice.
- University of Maine Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research: $234,487
Lumpfish Domestication and Breeding to Accelerate Successful Commercialization and Use for Biological Sea Lice Control in the Northeastern United States
Lumpfish are used in Norway, Scotland and eastern Canada as a cleaner fish for the biological control of parasitic sea lice on farmed salmonids, primarily Atlantic salmon. The 3-year project aims to establish a geographically diverse and self-sustaining breeding colony of lumpfish from wild-caught juveniles by refining protocols for capturing and rearing lumpfish broodstock, conditioning fish for off-season spawning, establishing and refining the lumpfish hatchery. production and protocols, and screening for pathogens and microbes in fish. By the end of the project, researchers will have established a diverse broodstock population from wild-caught fish from Maine territorial waters in the Gulf of Maine. Timing of broodstock reproduction will be manipulated in captivity along with photoperiod and temperature for hatchery juvenile production. The resulting supply of US-origin lumpfish juveniles will greatly benefit the US salmon farming industry.
The NOAA Sea Grant also continues to support 11 cutting-edge aquaculture collaborations originally funded through Sea Grant’s 2019 National Aquaculture Initiative, including two projects in Maine:
- University of Maine: $709,093
Nutritional strategies for enhancing larval production in marine fish with a focus on Seriola sp.
This project aims to develop the capacity and knowledge to produce and refine microparticulate fish larval foods and to assess the effects of diets on the performance (growth and survival) of yellowtail flounder and yellowtail amberjack larvae. The results of the project activities will contribute to increased larval performance and production of amberjack juveniles, which will contribute to the development and expansion of amberjack aquaculture.
- Maine Sea Grant: $423,539
Supporting industry needs through the Maine Aquaculture Hub
This project aims to continue the work of the Maine Aquaculture Hub to support the sustainable development of the aquaculture sector statewide by implementing the activities identified in Maine’s recently released 10-Year Aquaculture Roadmap. The project activities will consist of a sensitization event, workshops and training activities. In addition, a needs assessment will be used to assess and document the needs of different demographic groups interested in training under the Shared Waters Aquaculture program. Project outcomes include maintaining and strengthening relationships between the Hub and members of the aquaculture sector, gathering industry feedback and information on needs and future directions of interest for progress , the engagement of the Hub network as a whole through meetings, an update of the economic impact assessment of the industry, the implementation of aquaculture awareness and education needs identified by Hub participants, and strengthening and diversifying training programs. This project will benefit Maine’s aquaculture industry, coastal communities and their economies, and the general public.
NOAA Sea Grant announced federal funding of approximately $14 million in four strategic areas to improve aquaculture in the United States: early-stage propagation strategies; marine fish juvenile production technologies; continued support for cutting-edge aquaculture collaborations; and the establishment of the aquaculture information exchange. Click here for a full list of funded projects.
For more than 50 years, NOAA Sea Grant has supported coastal communities through research, extension and education. In 2021, Sea Grant helped create and sustain over 11,000 jobs and generated approximately $519.5 million in economic development, nearly half of our $1.2 billion aquaculture economy. country.
Pingree is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, where she prioritized increased funding for the NOAA Sea Grant in the 2023 Business, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bill.