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  • Send Applications for Aquaculture Business Development Program to Island Institute

    The Island Institute is accepting applications for its 2019 Aquaculture Business Development (ABD) program. Now in its fourth year, the free program helps fishermen and those from fishing communities gain the tools they need to diversify and launch small-scale aquaculture businesses. The institute is looking to work with coastal and island residents who are motivated to start a shellfish or seaweed aquaculture businesses within the next two years. Applications are being accepted through March 14.

    “Maine’s emerging aquaculture industry has a lot of opportunity and growth potential. The ABD program provides both the academic and experiential learning tools to enter that growing arena,” said Peter Piconi, marine business specialist with the Island Institute. “More importantly, fishermen can diversify their income, which, in turn, helps island and coastal economies thrive.”

    The program concentrates on business planning and provides prolonged one-on-one support services to help participants get started in the water. Features of the program include training for growing oysters, mussels, and seaweed; knowledge of the state leasing process and site selection; assistance with developing business and marketing plans; and access to financing and continued business support for the first three years of business operation.

    Applications and information are available at www.islandinstitute.org/aquaculture or by calling 594-9209, extension 159. Questions regarding the Aquaculture Business Development program should be directed to Peter Piconi at ppiconi@islandinstitute.org or Sam Belknap at sbelknap@islandinstitute.org.

  • U.S. invests nearly $200,000 in Maine to explore high-end sashimi market for fishermen

    Funding will help connect sushi chefs with local fishermen like this fleet in Portland, Maine. photo by Ramona du Houx

    Congresswoman Chellie Pingree said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is giving the Gulf of Maine Research Institute a $192,000 federal grant to work on the development of high-end sashimi-grade markets for Maine seafood.

    "High quality, fresh caught seafood can be extremely valuable if it's sold to sushi restaurants, but Maine seafood hasn't had as big a presence in that market as it could," said Pingree. "A little investment in developing those relationships between Maine fishermen and sushi chefs could pay off in a significant way."

    The grant from NOAA is to support the establishment of a market for sashimi-grade seafood products sourced from local fishermen. The supplychain for high-end value-added seafood will be identified in order to connect sushi chefs and other high-end seafood marketers with local fishermen to discover opportunities for locally harvested seafood.  Training will also be provided to fishermen about sashimi-grade handling of seafood products.