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For This We Give Thanks - scallop aquaculture


Credit: NOAA Fisheries


"The aquaculture of sea scallops in Maine has been developing for about 20 years. It offers new opportunities for former and existing commercial fishermen.


Sea Scallop Farming Creates a Unique Product

Fishermen are facing numerous threats, including climate change. Aquaculture offers a solution. Maine’s wild fisheries have become very focused on the lobster industry. Farming sea scallops in Maine offers an opportunity to diversify the seafood harvesting business and increase resiliency for coastal communities built around seafood production.

The sea scallop aquaculture community is unique to Maine and composed of a variety of people and organizations, including fishermen farmers, marine extension programs, community development financial institutions, and research and outreach foundations.


Sea scallop farming will serve a specialty market within the seafood industry, allowing

consumers to buy scallops at different sizes, ranging from petite to jumbo. The buyer could even have the opportunity to purchase the whole animal instead of the more commonly available sea scallop adductor muscle meats.


Part of the interest in farmed scallops relates to the traceability of the product from farm to market. This is especially important because they are promoting the freshness that comes from distribution to markets within 24 hours of harvesting. PenBay Scallops created a cookbook to help consumers, chefs, and wholesalers understand what the products are, where they come from, and how to use them.


Sea scallop farming in Maine will not compete with wild scallop harvesting volumes in New England. It will also not impact the trends for demand and prices of wild harvested sea scallops due to the differences in harvest and distribution scales, market demands, and production costs. “A farmed scallop is not meant to compete or displace wild fishery scallops. It’s simply a different product offering,” states Hugh Cowperthwaite, CEI Senior Program Director for Fisheries and Aquaculture. "


For questions on sea scallop aquaculture in Maine, contact kevin.madley@noaa.gov, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office Aquaculture Coordinator.


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