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Start a New Year with a new venture?


Gulf of Maine Research Institute suggests: Starting your own aquaculture farm is an exciting but complex endeavor and success requires careful decision making from the very beginning. In our latest case study on the Maine Aquaculturist, Alicia Gaiero, owner of Nauti Sisters Sea Farm, describes the process of navigating regulatory requirements and utilizing mapping tools to pick the right water for an aquaculture venture.

The Maine Aquaculturist, our online aquaculture knowledge portal, is made possible by World Wildlife Fund, Eaton Peabody, and Maine Aquaculture.


It is worth taking time to read all this. Maybe you are considering adding aquaculture --such as farming scallops-- to your repertoire, or you may be in a position to encourage others to do so for the health of our coastal economies, and enhancing our dinner plates while protecting our marine environments.



Above is the link and here is what it says:

"INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVE A Guide to Site Selection and Mapping Embarking on a journey in aquaculture is an exciting endeavor, but success begins with careful consideration of site selection and mapping. In the coastal waters of Maine, a region rich in marine biodiversity, choosing the right site is paramount to the success of any aquaculture venture. Author(s)Alicia Gaiero, Owner SourceNauti Sisters Sea Farm Date2023

Embarking on a journey in aquaculture is an exciting endeavor, but success begins with careful consideration of site selection and mapping. In the coastal waters of Maine, a region rich in marine biodiversity, choosing the right site is paramount to the success of any aquaculture venture. As a current aquaculture farmer and a previous aquaculture application consultant, I understand the importance of detailed site mapping in accordance with specific DMR guidelines. Using a real-life example of a Limited Purpose Aquaculture (LPA) site in the coastal waters of Maine I’ll illustrate why a detailed site map serves as a crucial tool in the regulatory approval process. It not only facilitates transparent communication with regulatory bodies but also provides a visual guide for stakeholders involved in the aquaculture sector. These maps can be made in applications such as Google Earth or with various versions of ArcMap. The Maine DMR Aquaculture Map is an essential tool in this process. Below is a list of items you need to consider when choosing your LPA location.

Regulatory Factors for Consideration: Essential Habitats: LPA licenses cannot be located within areas designated as Essential Habitats by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW). Essential Habitats are areas that currently or historically provide physical or biological features essential to the conservation of an endangered or threatened species in Maine, such as eelgrass meadows.

  1. Closed or Conditional Areas: LPA license sites for shellfish may not be within 300 feet of any areas classified as prohibited and can only be located in areas that are classified as approved or conditionally approved, except for the sole culture of seed. Sites raising only shellfish seed and complying with maximum seed size limits (DMR Rule Chapter 2.95(A)(4)(a)) may be located in restricted, conditionally restricted, or prohibited areas subject to relay requirements, but are prohibited in the 300:1 dilution area around a wastewater treatment plant outfall (DMR Rule Chapter 2.90(3)(D)(3)).

  2. Nearby LPA/Lease Sites: There may be no more than 4 LPAs within 1000 ft. Consideration and notification should be made to nearby leaseholders and applicants.

  3. Navigation Channels: To gain knowledge of the area you should collaborate with your local harbor master to help to identify known areas of high traffic and navigation.

  4. Protected Areas and Nesting Birds: Bald and Golden Eagles are not protected under the Endangered Species Act but are protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 668 et seq.) by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS). The USFWS recommends that all structures and activity should be limited to no closer than 660 feet of an active nest to avoid disturbing eagles. Other protected birds include Piping Plovers.

Social Factors for Consideration: Commercial Fishing Use: Existing commercial fishing activities may be impacted by aquaculture operations. Establish dialogue with local fishermen to identify areas of coexistence and find solutions that benefit both industries.

  1. Popular Use Areas: Engage with local communities to understand usage patterns and mitigate conflicts through open communication and collaboration.

After considering all these factors and making sure your site complies with them, it’s time to create your LPA site map. Below are the items you need to include on it. Mapping Guidelines: The Vicinity Map

  1. Location of Proposed Site: Use a pinpoint or polygon to mark the exact location of the proposed aquaculture site, ensuring precision and clarity.

  2. Radius Circles: Two circles should be delineated on the map for LPAs - a 300 ft radius circle and a 1,000 ft radius circle around the proposed site. This aids in visualizing the spatial impact of the aquaculture activities and the site distance from other uses.

  3. Gear Orientation: Clearly indicated the direction in which aquaculture gear would be deployed. This provides insights into the operational layout.

  4. North Arrow: To avoid any directional confusion, a North Arrow should be included, specifying whether it indicated true or magnetic north.

  5. Depth Contours: Detailed depth contours should be overlaid on the map, indicating the underwater topography. Mean low water (MLW) and mean high water (MHW) levels should be clearly marked on adjacent land, providing a comprehensive understanding of the site's hydrography.

  6. Ebb and Flood Directions: Arrows denoting the directions of ebb and flood tides are essential for planning aquaculture activities in harmony with tidal patterns.

  7. Scale: The map must feature a clearly defined scale bar.

  8. DMR Water Quality Classification Area: Add the water quality classification for the area to the map. LPA license sites for shellfish may not be within 300 feet of any areas classified as prohibited. The Maine Shellfish Closures & Monitoring Data Map will help you with this step.

  9. Distance to Prohibited Area Classification: If applicable, the distance to prohibited area classification should be outlined, ensuring adherence to regulatory restrictions.

By navigating the complex web of regulatory and social factors, aquaculturists can ensure sustainable and harmonious operations in the coastal waters of Maine. Thorough research, collaboration with local stakeholders, and adherence to regulations will pave the way for a thriving aquaculture sector."


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