Seafood & Aquaculture

Seafood & Aquaculture

Maine’s seafood industry has long been lobster-centric, but the rise of oyster farming, fishing, and plant harvesting has created more opportunities than ever before. As aqua farms continue to proliferate up and down the coast, efforts to assist these operations grow as well.

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Visit the bottom of the page to access the Maine Resource Compass, a searchable directory of resources across the State to help you fund and grow your business. 

 


Domestic Trade Programs & Resources

  • #EatMaineSeafood - Anyone can easily join is the #EatMaineSeafood campaign. The Maine Aquaculture Association is working with the Maine Coast Fisherman’s Association to encourage seafood consumers, producers, restaurants, industry groups, and other stakeholders to use the hashtag across their social media platforms. Join the campaign by using the hashtag on your own social media.

  • Maine Farm and Seafood Products Directory - In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, increased demand for local produce and seafood has resulted in adaptive farm-to-table strategies across the state. To expand consumer access to your operation, add your listing to this interactive producer map presented by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

  • Maine Seafood Marketing Initiative - CEI’s comprehensive plan to make Maine’s seafood industry more domestically competitive and better equipped for the future.

  • Maine Seafood - A marketing and PR program with the Maine Department of Marine Resources.

  • Maine Center for Entrepreneurs Top Gun Program - A 15 week educational experience and competition for entrepreneurs with the desire to grow. Winners will receive a cash prize, which in previous years has come in the form of a $25,000 check.

  • MCE Cultivator Program - Hurdle strategic barriers and expand your business to scale with Maine’s first food, beverage, and agriculture scale-up accelerator program.
  • MCE MarketShare Accel Program - Value-added producers can gain access to industry/market data, professional coaching, and tailored assessments to better understand their business and its needs.

  • Maine Accelerates Growth (MxG) - Funding for innovative and entrepreneurial companies, with initial funding awarded in the following areas: 1) programs & events that support increased capital, market access, and/or talent access; or 2) that build upon Maine's innovative and entrepreneurial culture.


Grants & Loans

  • USDA Value Added Producer Grant - Helps value-added producers enter value-added activities related to the processing and marketing of new products, via generating new products, developing and expanding marketing opportunities, and increasing producer income. (Reopens late 2020)
  • SBIR/STTR Technical Assistance Program (TAP) - If you’re in need of high-risk, early stage technology financing, MTI’s TAP program offers funding and technical assistance to help you craft your winning proposal.

  • NOAA Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant Program - Finances projects that uplift fishing communities, keep working waterfronts functional, and build & maintain sustainable fisheries for economic betterment (Opens 2021).

  • NOAA Sea Grant - Funding for multiple kinds of marine projects, all with the goal of building the foundation of U.S. seafood and aquaculture operations and their surrounding communities. Click the link to check the availability of current funding opportunities.

  • Buoy Maine Competition - Opportunity for businesses and non-profits to pitch their ideas and innovations to support coastal communities for awards of up to $15,000 (September 14th deadline).


Trade Shows & Events

  • Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North AmericaThis is the largest North American seafood expo, and it's attended by thousands of industry buyers and suppliers both domestic and foreign.
  • Process Expo - Discover new technological innovations, learn about emerging trends, and mingle with industry experts at the largest food and beverage processing trade show in the USA. 


Brand Membership

  • Maine Made - The Maine Made Program is operated via the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development to assist Maine makers and artisans with enhanced market exposure and increased revenues through its nationally recognized branding.


Other Industry Resources

  • Maine Aquaculture Association - Represents Maine's aquaculture industry both in-state and nationally, and has helped aqua growers adopt economically and environmentally sustainable business practices since 1978. 

To find more Seafood & Aquaculture resources please explore the Maine Resource Compass below. You can search this living database to build your network, grow your knowledge base and find funding opportunities. These resources come from all across the entrepreneurial ecosystem — in Maine and beyond.

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