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Chris Vonderweidt

Chris first joined GMRI as Aquaculture Program Manager in January 2016. In his role, Chris is responsible for leading the organization’s initiative to support the growing shellfish and algae aquaculture industry in the Gulf of Maine. GMRI is working with industry leadership, partner nonprofits and research institutes, seafood distributors, and investors to identify and overcome barriers to building a sustainable and robust aquaculture industry. 

Prior to joining GMRI, Chris worked for Maine DMR as a policy development specialist, where a majority of his time was devoted to aquaculture and wild seaweed management and policy issues. During that time, he overhauled the limited purpose aquaculture license process and led the development of the first-ever State of Maine FMP, for rockweed. Before that, Chris worked for the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission in Washington D.C., where he served as fisheries management plan coordinator for species such as herring, dogfish, coastal sharks, tautog, and winter flounder.

Chris earned his bachelor’s degree in environmental studies, with a biology minor from Ithaca College. From there, he went on to earn a master’s degree in coastal environmental management from Duke University.

Chris is delighted to live in Maine and proud to support the state’s important working waterfront heritage. Though Chris hails from central New York, his family has Maine roots in the communities of Howland and Jefferson.  His earliest memories include stories from his maternal grandmother, who spoke often about a changing coastal landscape and the need to preserve Maine’s coastal heritage — a value that stuck with him to adulthood.

In his spare time, Chris enjoys gardening, spending time outdoors, cross country skiing, and woodworking. Most of all, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two young daughters.