Maine Aquaculture Association Takes Helm of State’s Burgeoning Industry

maine aquaculture
Marshall Cove Mussel farm off Islesboro in Penobscot Bay, owned and operated by Josh and Shey Conover, a lobstering family

Maine has long been famous for its working waterfront and well-managed lobster fishery. Today, however, climate change, federal regulations, and development pressures contribute to an uncertain future for Maine’s marine economy. 

We recently sat down with Afton Hupper, a member of a commercial fishing family from Maine, to discuss Maine’s seafood industry on the Aquademia Podcast. Afton, who now works as the outreach and development specialist for the Maine Aquaculture Association (MAA), believes aquaculture can help preserve Maine’s working waterfront by providing alternative career choices for fishing families.

“There’s a moratorium on lobster licenses in Maine,” says Hupper, “so it’s very hard for young people to get started in the industry. Farming sea vegetables, shellfish, or working on a salmon farm are alternative options that support our marine trades and our seafood industry in Maine.” 

afton hupper
Afton Hupper, MAA

MAA has advocated for the state’s aquaculture industry since 1978. In more recent years, the state has seen an increase in the number of aquaculture-related businesses. Most notably, shellfish and sea vegetable farms in addition to several new land-based RAS projects have developed. With this recent growth, MAA has continued to strengthen its stance as the state’s leader in supporting up and coming aquaculture businesses and their employees.

This growth has not been without its challenges. MAA continues to play a vital role in helping the industry grow while cultivating support and engagement at the community level. “Talking to people, engaging them, and making them feel included is the most important thing the aquaculture industry can do when it comes to building support for projects,” says Hupper. 

maine aquaculture
Lobsterman Keith Miller of Spruce Head gets help seeding his kelp farm from Ben Stendel

MAA is committed to growing a sustainable future for Maine’s seafood industry and the people who rely on it, and we are proud to have them as a Strategic Partner of GAA.

Throughout our Strategic Partnership, MAA and GAA will collaborate on the creation of educational materials for usage within and throughout the state of Maine, in addition to global circulation.

Interested in becoming a Strategic Partner of GAA? Contact our Membership Coordinator, Jason Trott.

Maine Aquaculture
Krista Tripp, lobsterman and owner of Aphrodite Oysters in South Thomaston