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August 19, 2020

Federal money to help aquaculture producers deal with effects of pandemic

Courtesy / University New England Kelp production is a growing sector of Maine’s aquaculture industry.

The Maine Aquaculture Association will receive of $64,885 in federal funds to help aquaculture producers create a plan for how to survive the pandemic.

The money comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business Development Grant program.

“This vital grant to the Maine Aquaculture Association is going to be used where it is needed most—assisting the Maine aquaculture businesses who provide our state with shellfish, finfish and sea vegetables,” USDA Rural Development State Director Timothy Hobbs said in a news release. “Supporting our Maine fisherman will ultimately help the industry as a whole to thrive, while sustaining aquaculture-related jobs and businesses in Maine.”

The association will work directly with Maine aquaculture business owners, meeting one-on-one, to provide training, assistance and COVID-specific tools to help producers strategize and plan the business, financial and production aspects of their farms. 

The program’s immediate focus is to help farmers create a plan detailing how to survive the next two years of COVID impacts, with a secondary focus being placed on thorough five- and 10-year growth plans. The funds will also be used to help business owners navigate the programs designed to mitigate the impacts of COVID.

In 2014, Maine had 107 aquaculture business industry providers, according to Maine Aquaculture Economic Impact Report from the Aquaculture Research Institute at the University of Maine. The industry had a statewide economic impact of $136.7 million in output, $56.1 million in labor income and 1,078 full- and part-time jobs.

 The Maine Aquaculture Association is a nonprofit trade association that represents the Maine aquaculture industry at the state, federal and international levels. Its members grow finfish, shellfish, and sea vegetables. Since 1978, the trade association has worked to support Maine’s growers in developing economically and environmentally sustainable business practices, promoting the benefits of aquaculture in the local food system, and preserving Maine’s working waterfront. In any given year, the association's members represent between 80% and 90% of the active sea farming companies in the state. 

For more information, contact MAA at (207) 622-0136, or click here.


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