Friday, December 21, 2007

Future of Maine Aquaculture Looks Bright

BAR HARBOR � The aquaculture industry is quickly becoming the industry that the world will look to in filling the need for seafood, according to Nick Brown from the Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research. Brown hopes to keep Maine in the forefront of this emerging industry.

“Aquaculture is growing at a rate of 8.8 percent since the ’70s. Beef production is up 2.8 percent. The total production of aquaculture product is 25 million tons with 70 percent of that coming from China. In 2005, aquaculture seafood was 45 percent of the total seafood consumed,” said Brown at a presentation during part of the Bay Ecology Series at the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratories.

The growth of wild seafood stocks is slowing. The rate is estimated at 1.2 percent growth since the 1970s, with the rate being .7 percent in 10 years. Some 80 percent of the seafood in the United States is imported, which puts the country at an approximate $8 billion trade deficit.

“This growing seafood gap is going to be filled in with aquaculture,” Brown said.

The goals of the Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research include improving the aquaculture industry in Maine - to provide economic development for the state.

The center believes raising diversified species such as worms, sea urchins, cod, halibut and salmon will provide more opportunities for success. Developing and integrating sustainable fish farming policies is also the focus of the Center's work. The CCAR also provides business development resources for entrepreneurs involved with aquaculture. Maine Halibut Farms is one of the first businesses to take advantage of the CCAR facilities. It supplied Maine Halibut with 3,000 fish in 2005 and 25,000 in 2006, which they intend to grow to market size.

Maine Halibut Farms is building a prototype system at Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research — scheduled to go into production in the first quarter of 2008 — that will be capable of producing 20 metric tons of halibut. The company will probably be the first program scheduled to move into the center’s aquaculture business park in Corea with a new facility designed to have a production capacity of 200 metric tons a year.


Template by : kendhin