Port Clyde seaweed company among Maine marine businesses receiving grants
A Port Clyde seaweed venture is among the eight recipients of grants make through the Maine Technology Institute. In partnership with the Alliance for Maine's Marine Economy, the institute distributed $1.7 million from the Marine Economy Capital Grants Program and one award from the Cluster Initiative Program. The MECG Program is financed by the Marine Economy and Jobs bond that MTI manages on behalf of the State of Maine.
Projects span value-added seafood processing to seaweed aquaculture to shellfish aquaculture, and take place down Maine's coast from Washington to York counties.
Proposals were reviewed competitively according to five criteria: economic impact, industry-identified need and/or support, project scope and approach to innovation, project team and resources, and quality of budget and finances. "MTI is delighted to partner with the Alliance for Maine's Marine Economy to support innovators and entrepreneurs in Maine's coastal and marine communities," said MTI President Brian Whitney, in a news release. "We look forward to monitoring the progress of these projects and understanding how lessons learned will support the marine industries."
Summary of awards:
Springtide Seaweed, LLC Award Amount: $180,000
Port Clyde Match Amount: $697,000
The creation of a new aquaculture seaweed exchange that will support new and existing farmers to expand seaweed production, increase jobs, develop innovative new and value-added products, and support communities throughout Maine. This project brings together the largest seaweed farmers in the state, the country's largest seaweed products company that is Maine based, and a comprehensive collaboration with processing, packaging, distribution, and product development specialists and enterprises throughout Maine. The exchange will particularly support organic, sustainable, and restorative practices that reflect and support Maine's traditional marine heritage, communities, and industries.
Cluster Initiative Program:
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences Award Amount $93,600
East Boothbay Match Amount $142,192
The Maine Algal Economy has a long history, but has significant room for expansion. Some of the primary limitations to growth and innovation are a lack of new products and a lack of technology. Bigelow will purchase several pieces of equipment that expand the technological capabilities in the State of Maine, but also facilitate bringing new products to market to support Maine's aquaculture industry.
Marine Economy Capital Grant Program:
Blue Hill Bay Mussels, LLC Award Amount: $44,328
Hancock Match Amount: $204,972
This project will commercialize a practice called remote settlement, which will benefit Maine's rope-grown mussel industry by giving growers more control over the settlement of mussel spat. The current practice of relying on a single annual cohort of mussel spat to settle at the optimum time and in adequate numbers, limits growth in this industry. A collaboration between Blue Hill Bay Mussels and the Downeast Institute, this project commercializes proven hatchery technology, and will secure and add jobs, result in new processes and products, and increase industry productivity.
Coastal Enterprises Inc. Award Amount: $66,574
Multiple locations Match Amount: $75,000
This project will increase the sustainable supply, quality, and diversity of domestic seafood by pioneering new technology to aid in the production of high value farm raised sea scallops. Production will lead to innovation, market growth through Maine brand recognition, increased sales and quality jobs for coastal residents.
Community Shellfish LLC Award Amount: $100,000
Bremen Match Amount: $100,000
This project entails the rehabilitation and re-purposing of a grand-fathered "Lobster Pound" enclosure on the Medomak River in Bremen for use and development as a dynamic and innovative Aquaculture venue to grow shellfish. The project could have long-lasting impact by creating a whole new industry for the area's working waterfront.
Maine Seafood Ventures Award Amount: $400,000
Saco Match Amount: $1,650,000
For decades, Maine's lobster processing industry has struggled to compete with Canada's subsidized processing infrastructure. Today, Maine's processing industry is growing and Maine Seafood Ventures has been at the forefront of this growth. The award will allow use of the latest High-Pressure Processing (HPP) technology to expand markets for fresh Maine lobster meat by extending its shelf life, enabling Maine Seafood Ventures to generate revenue, create jobs and expand production from seasonal to year-round.
Mook Sea Farm Award Amount: $336,000
Walpole Match Amount: $1,897,228
Mook Sea Farm (MSF) is building a multipurpose oyster facility to address multiple objectives that benefit MSF and other local oyster growers. The facility will provide infrastructure for expanding existing production and will advance the development of land-based shellfish farming.
Pemaquid Mussel Farms LLC Award Amount: $250,400
Damariscotta Match Amount: $540,000
Pemaquid Mussel Farms (PMF) helped develop mussel raft aquaculture in Maine, and has recently developed a breakthrough in mussel raft technology, the patented submersible mussel raft, which reduces risk, triples seed to harvest yields, and will allow Maine growers to take advantage of a $10 million a year market opportunity for Maine grown rope cultured mussels.
Shucks Maine Lobster, LLC Award Amount: $400,000
Richmond, Gorham Match Amount: $1,150,000
Shucks Maine Lobster has become an internationally award-winning Maine Lobster processor of innovative value-added products utilizing state-of-the-art HPP technology with 60 employees in a 26,000 SF facility. Shucks is on the verge of significant growth with immediate plans to expand into a new state-of-the-art Gorham facility; dramatically increase its product line; add 20 new jobs; and sign new agreements with two major players in the Maine lobster industry.
MTI is a publicly financed, private, nonprofit created by the Legislature in 1999 to stimulate research and development activity leading to the commercialization of new products, processes and services in the state's seven targeted technology sectors. MTI programs are either loans, equity investments, or grants designed to enhance the competitive position of those sectors and increase the likelihood that one or more of these sectors will support clusters of industrial activity and create quality jobs across Maine.
The Alliance for Maine's Marine Economy is a network of companies, organizations and individuals dedicated to the growth of a vibrant marine economy for Maine. The mission is to ensure that Maine seafood, fishing and aquaculture industries and the natural and innovation ecosystems on which they depend are healthy and benefit Maine people. More information on the Alliance and its members is available at https://umaine.edu/alliance/.
For information on the Marine Capital Grants Program, deadlines and the application processes, and other MTI programs, visit the Maine Technology Institute at www.mainetechnology.org.