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June 6, 2024

Maine's seafood industry is getting a promotional group, at least for 2 years

Oyster growers at Wolfe Neck tend to grow-out gear stacked near the water. Photo / Courtesy, Wolfe Neck Oyster Co. Until now, Maine was one of the few states on the East Coast without such a broad promotional group. Here, Wolfe Neck Oyster Co. grows oysters in Casco Bay.

With an eye toward growing revenues by 10% and adding 1,000 jobs by 2030, Maine seafood businesses now have a promotional council working to boost the industry.

The initiative to establish the council was led by FocusMaine, guided by industry input and funded by the Department of Economic and Community Development. Until now, Maine was one of the few states on the East Coast without such a broad promotional group. 

File photo
Andrea Cianchette Maker

“With the rising demand for locally grown seafood, we need the expertise that has been passed and grown over many generations, as well as the new expertise emerging from a more active aquaculture community, to harness the potential of Maine’s seafood industry,” said Andrea Cianchette Maker, FocusMaine’s president.

The pilot phase of setting up the council spans a two-year period.

During that time, the project will host two events to raise awareness about seafood from Maine and will work with the Department of Marine Resources to use marketing resources created in recent years — such as a Seafood from Maine website and social platforms. There council will also establish an industry-led advisory board, create a governance mechanism, and seek funding. 

The efforts aim to complement the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative, the state’s legislatively mandated marketing initiative for Maine’s lobster industry.

“The Maine Seafood Promotional Council will establish a place for our fishermen and aquaculturists to strengthen their businesses and create greater impacts in their coastal communities,” said Cianchette Maker.

The sector includes fishing, lobstering, aquaculture, life sciences, and value-added processing as well as supply chain elements such as shipping and logistics. 

The council comes out of an economic development plan called the Roadmap for the Future of Maine’s Seafood Economy, which identified the group's creation as an immediate goal.

The plan was created by the Seafood Economic Accelerator for Maine, or SEA Maine, and released earlier this year. Plan funding was from the U.S. Economic Development Administration with support from Maine Technology Institute and FocusMaine.

Maine’s fisheries are a significant economic engine for the state. The goal of the council is to boost markets within and outside the state, supporting burgeoning and heritage fisheries, and to strengthen Maine's food economy through the responsible use of state's natural resources.

According to a SEA Maine report issued last year, Maine’s seafood sector as a whole, including downstream contributors, in 2019 contributed over $3.2 billion in total economic output to the state economy. The sector also supported over 33,300 jobs, including 23,846 in sector industries and 7,300 additional jobs supported by other indirect and induced multiplier effects.

The council’s working committee is seeking industry members and other interested parties to get involved with the effort.  For more information, contact

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