Aquaculture businesses get started at UMaine’s Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research

[music] Hello, I’m Steve Eddy, Director of Operations
for the University of Maine’s Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research, located on Taunton Bay,
here in Franklin, Maine. The center was established in 2000, with the
objective of setting up a research and development facility for aquaculture. Aquaculture is farming
in water, and anything that you grow in water from a sea vegetable to a tuna is being aquacultured. We have several business incubators on site,
which basically allow companies to demonstrate at a pilot scale, the species that they’re
trying to grow. It allows them to be able to show this fish to potential investors,
to do some test marketing, to test out-growing methods. If it weren’t for CCAR, this business either
wouldn’t exist, or we’d be at a much earlier stage than we are. It’s a tremendous advantage
to be able to come in here and say, “I want to run a small experiment with a few fish,
see what we learn and then talk about going to the next stage.” Our hatchery is the go-to source for companies
trying to grow these species such as sea urchins or halibut or California yellowtail in Maine.
We have seaweed seeding labs, which Maine Sea Grant operates, and that’s to help establish
sea vegetable farming in the state, and so it provides seed stock. We have a sea urchin facility. These were
reared in our hatchery last year and this is really the perfect size for planting them
out. We designed and built these tanks on site and they’re custom configured for sea
urchins. That’s true of many of our systems, we’re able to configure them to the needs
of the species that they’re trying to grow. The Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research
has been absolutely phenomenal in helping me get this system set up. To have this resource
right in our backyard, I don’t think many people understand how magnificent that really
is and what strides we can take as a state because of this resource. Students use this facility. Industry partners,
fishermen and obviously researchers from the university use this facility. It’s really
a state of the art technological asset for the state. [music]

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