Aquaculture Entrepreneurs

Maine Startup and Create Week is a celebration of all things entrepreneurial, ranging from how to crowdsource to marketing to various entrepreneurial fields. This afternoon, I attended a panel led by four individuals in the field of aquaculture.

The first panelist, Barry Costa-Pierce is both a professor and the director the Marine Science Center at the University of New England. He spoke with passion about the need to address seafood ecosystems and their relations with humans going forward in order to meet protein demands as the global population continues to grow. 

The next panelist, Norah Eddy, flew in from Santa Barbara to attend the conference and speak about her two-year-old company, Salty Girl Seafood. They sell frozen and smoked seafood in California, harvested at sustainable fish farms. One of the keep components of their company's vision is traceability of the product and connecting the consumer with the fisherman to create a compelling story of the movement of fish from the water to the plate. 

The third panelist, Maine native Tollef Olson, discussed his ventures into aquaculture within Maine through his various ventures. He spoke about his work with mussels and kelp and his newest project Ocean Balance.

The final panelist, Dan Ward, traveled up from North Falmouth, MA, where he splits his time between farming bay scallops, sugar kelp, and oysters and working as a researcher in Woods Hole. 

My knowledge about aquaculture, especially shellfish was slim to none prior to this panel, but I am intrigued to see how it can be used to create more sustainable fishing practices going forward. As someone who grew up in a fishing community, the challenges facing the fishing industry are evident and it is exciting to see individuals following their entrepreneurial spirit to establish more sustainable practices and business models.