Maine unveils plan to build its seafood economy

An economic accelerator program in Maine has released a new roadmap to grow what it calls the state’s “marine living resource economy” by 10 percent by 2030. It also plans to grow employment within that economy and related value chain by 1,000 employees by 2030.

SEA Maine, or the Seafood Economic Accelerator for Maine, is an industry-led initiative bringing together leaders in Maine’s commercial fishing, aquaculture and seafood sectors.

Today, Maine’s population is estimated to be 1.3 million, with a little more than half of the population living in eight coastal counties, SEA Maine said..

The group noted residents in Maine’s 145 coastal and near-coastal cities and towns participate in the marine economy, either in “central” vocations such as fishermen, aquaculturists, wholesale dealers, distributors, and processors, or in “peripheral” vocations through retail and restaurant sales of seafood to residents and visitors.

Funded initially by the US Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, with match funding from the Maine Technology Institute and FocusMaine, the statewide initiative looks at industries that include groundfish, lobster and aquaculture in Maine and also looks at how conflicts between user groups and climate change are negatively impacting seafood growth in Maine.

A select number of projects emerging from SEA Maine’s work include the creation of a Maine Seafood Promotional Council funded by the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development and facilitated by FocusMaine.

The co-chairs of the program’s steering committee include Curt Brown of Ready Seafood and Sara Rademaker of American Unagi.

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