PORTLAND, Maine — October 21, 2020 —This week, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute announced the launch of The Maine Aquaculturist — a free-to-use online knowledge portal designed to help Maine’s sea farmers access an array of existing business resources across the state.
Maine’s rapidly growing aquaculture industry enjoys a comprehensive support system that includes state agencies, NGOs, research labs, academic institutions, trade groups, and other organizations invested in the economic potential aquaculture brings to the state. Between these organizations and the farms themselves, there is no shortage of information available — but with so many organizations contributing valuable insight, it can be difficult for farmers to find the information quickly amid all the other demands of their businesses.
The Maine Aquaculturist addresses this challenge by centralizing and organizing these resources to help farmers find the information they need to build and sustain their businesses.
The new platform serves startups and mature aquaculture companies alike. From developing an initial business plan to selling product at market, the platform’s Essential Start Guide charts the course for new aquaculture entrepreneurs. Additionally, a guide to financing options helps startups pursue funding. For industry veterans, the platform features a searchable resource database, job board, and regulatory update tracker.
The site also features a set of case studies — highlighting the experiences of industry veterans from diverse backgrounds, who share critical insights to help readers draw from their successes and avoid repeating their mistakes.
“This website delivers tremendous value to anyone starting out in aquaculture, as well as folks who are already in the game who need to find resources,” said Ben Hamilton of Love Point Oysters. “I am so thoroughly impressed, and I hope it serves as a catalyst for continued aquaculture growth in Maine.”
The Gulf of Maine Research Institute designed The Maine Aquaculturist in partnership with Maine Aquaculture Association, and the work was sponsored by FocusMaine.
“The portal is an important new resource for Maine’s growing aquaculture community," said Sebastian Belle of Maine Aquaculture Association.
The new tool is primarily a response to a gap in industry support identified by aquaculture business owners. A series of working sessions and conversations with aquaculturists from across the industry drove the content, structure, and design of the platform. The site acknowledges contributions from a group of oyster, mussel, and kelp farmers from around the state, as well as other industry experts.
“Nobody knows sea farming better than the sea farmers themselves,” said Chris Vonderweidt, Aquaculture Program Manager at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, who led the project team responsible for building the platform. “Ultimately, we just wanted to create a space for Maine’s thriving community of aquaculture businesses to share, learn, and grow with each other.”
For more information, explore https://www.themaineaquaculturist.org/ or learn more about the project in the context of other Gulf of Maine Research Institute aquaculture efforts at https://gmri.org/projects/maine-aquaculturist-knowledge-portal/.
About the Gulf of Maine Research Institute:
The Gulf of Maine Research Institute pioneers collaborative solutions to global ocean challenges. Located in Portland, ME, the institute is dedicated to the resilience of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem and the communities that depend on it. For more information, visit www.gmri.org