From the beginning, we have been collaborating with scientists, educators, community leaders and government officials to collect, monitor, and analyze ocean conditions. This includes experts from groups like the Friends of Casco Bay and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute as well as other oyster farmers. Our oceans are changing and it is critical to be aware of how these changes can impact our coast. For example, Gulf of Maine waters are warming faster than 99.85 percent of the rest of the world’s oceans. That puts local traditional coastal fisheries such as clamming and lobstering in jeopardy. It is critical to find ways that our working waterfronts can adapt such as undertaking small-scale aquaculture projects.
In order to make this information the most useful, we have been coordinating our monitoring protocols with other non-profits, the State, and other oyster farms. By working together, we can collect data on critical environmental parameters that pertain to changing ocean environments. We are also a part of the Maine Ocean and Coastal Acidification Partnership, a volunteer partnership working together to coordinate research, education and outreach on acidification in Maine.
We are also conducting research into the possibilities of growing other types of shellfish. There is potential to grow sea scallops, quahogs and blue mussels along with several species of seaweed. We’ve been experimenting with different growing techniques and collaborating with other shellfish farmers in the state to learn from their experiences.
In the future, we hope to expand our aquaculture research to include education efforts as well by including institutions like the Brunswick School District, Bowdoin College and the University of New England.
It is a priority for our business and for us personally to make sure Maquoit and Mere Point Bays are healthy for oyster aquaculture and for all marine life. Contributing to research on our changing oceans is just one way to do that.