November, 2015 UPDATE:
In spring of 2015, a second class under this project was added in the town of Harpswell, to respond to interest from fishermen in the area. We benefitted from the knowledge and leadership of Dan Deveraux - Harbormaster and Marine Resources Officer in Brunswick - and Darcie Couture, of Resource Access International in Harpswell; their personal contacts helped to inform and organize the 15 clammers and lobstermen who participated in the course. Special thanks also to the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust, who allowed us to use their meeting space for our classes; the location and facilities could not have worked out more perfectly.
Photo: Clammer Chris Warner, talking with the 2015 Harpswell class about his clam farm in Heal Eddy, Georgetown.
We ran eight classes in the spring of this year, and at the time of this writing, there are four students engaged in new aquaculture enterprises, with applications expected from two more in coming months. All new businesses concern oyster production, and all appear to be doing quite well so far. This winter will be a test for overwintering of 2015 seed, but there is a lot of enthusiasm around the project, and we’ll look forward to oyster sales from these new businesses, beginning in 2016. We will be scheduling two or three classes for December 2015, to cover issues of business and financial management, and to hear from our new aquaculture entrepreneurs.
|Harpswell fisherman John Rogers' oyster gear, and his 2015 oyster seed at the new Dogs Head Oyster Company (check it out on Facebook)|
Additionally, one business has emerged from the 2013 course and continues to grow; oyster and kelp production in the town of Corea, with shellfish sales beginning earlier this year! As with any enterprise, seeds need some time to grow, but the momentum certainly appears to be moving in a good direction.
Photo (below): Oysters grown and sold by Corea fisherman Joe Young at the Corea Wharf Gallery, after having participated in the 2013 class. A beautiful product and a great reception by consumers---
Funding has been secured for another round of classes to begin in the early months of 2016. This class will cover the previous information, but will also address opportunities for growers and fishermen to make profitable links with the tourism and culinary industries - please stay tuned for more on that exciting development.