Aquaculture Research Institute
University of Maine
Animal Health Laboratory
University of Maine
Penobscot Marine Museum
The history of Maine Sea Grant and the history of marine aquaculture in Maine are intertwined, beginning with the first $100,300 Sea Grant awarded by the federal government in 1971 to the University of Maine to adapt existing aquaculture techniques and to develop new ways to grow shellfish in Maine’s unique, cold-water coastal environment.
Maine Sea Grant’s relationship with the fishering industry dates to 1975, when Congress was about to pass what would become the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. At that time, fish harvested by Maine fishermen stayed local, only traveling perhaps as far as Boston or New York. The Gulf of Maine fishery was dominated by fleets of foreign fishing vessels, factories at sea that fished harder than anyone before. Even at Gorton's in Gloucester, MA, 40% of the cod came from Polish boats.
In 1972, Paul Ring, a marine specialist with NOAA and Cooperative Extension, began a project to help Pemaquid Beach area volunteers restore sand dunes.
In 1977, Maine Sea Grant collaborated with the University of Maine College of Education to launch the Northern New England Marine Education Project, which produced some of the region’s earliest K-12 teachers’ resource guides on marine science and maritime heritage, and provided professional development opportunities for teachers in Maine and New Hampshire.
In 2016, we join our fellow Sea Grant programs across the country and the National Sea Grant College Program in celebrating our 50th anniversary of science serving America's coast. Read on to learn about the origins of the national program, or skip to the history of Sea Grant in Maine.
In 2006, staff at the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service Maine Field Office initiated a partnership with Maine Sea Grant to produce content for two informational kiosks planned for the lower Penobscot River region. The Penobscot River watershed is currently the subject of an unprecedented restoration plan that will restore access to over 1,000 miles of rearing and spawning habitat for Atlantic salmon, alewives, sturgeon, and other species of sea-run fish.