Lobster is an iconic species in Maine, and for good reason. In 2015 80% of the landed value of commercially harvested Maine seafood was attributed to lobster. In a changing marine environment, the lobster fishery may not always be as robust as it is now. Shellfish and seaweed aquaculture is one possibility for marine harvesters looking to diversify away from lobster (or other species) in order to supplement their income or to foster an alternative source of income should their current fishery become unviable in the future. We used interview and questionnaire data from Casco Bay to Penobscot Bay to explore the complementarity of aquaculture to other marine harvesting sectors and the factors that influence people to participate in aquaculture. We found that aquaculture may be complementary to commercial fishing (and other livelihoods) and that successful aquaculture producers find a way to represent both business and hands-on practical skills on their teams. We also discovered that of the people who are currently involved in aquaculture, many were influenced to participate by certain personality traits and values rather than their abilities or material assets.
Love, E. (2016). Shellfish and seaweed aquaculture as a mechanism for economic diversification in Maine island and coastal communities. Portland, ME: University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service, Casco Bay Estuary Partnership.