Maine Governor Mills Highlights Responsible Aquaculture

Governor Mills Highlights Responsible Aquaculture as Opportunity to Create Jobs, Strengthen Economy, and Promote Maine Seafood

Governor walks downtown Bath, stops by local businesses and encourages Maine people to shop local as part of visit to Sagadahoc County today

SAGADAHOC COUNTY, ME (STL.News) During a roundtable with sea farmers from the New Meadows River Shellfish Co-op today, Governor Janet Mills highlighted her Administration’s commitment to responsible aquaculture as an opportunity to strengthen and diversify Maine’s economy, generate good jobs, and provide Maine people with sustainable, locally-farmed seafood.

To support Maine’s aquaculture sector, the Governor pointed to millions of dollars made available to Maine sea farmers through the State’s distribution of funding through the CARES Act, the Governor’s Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, the recently enacted supplemental budget, and the Working Waterfront Access Protection Program.

“Aquaculture represents a promising opportunity to create new jobs, strengthen and diversify our economy, and expand Maine’s reputation as a premier destination for seafood,” said Governor Mills.  “I have been proud to support Maine sea farmers as they overcome the pandemic, and my Administration will continue to support the responsible growth of this industry as it creates new jobs and builds on the strong foundation of our marine economy.”

Aquaculture has steadily grown in Maine in recent years.  According to the most recent economic impact report, its overall value is more than $100 million.  Sea farmers apply to use public waters through the Maine Department of Marine Resource and undergo a rigorous permitting process based on State law.

The Governor was joined by Representative Jay McCreight (D-Harpswell), the Chair of the Legislature’s Committee on Marine Resources, for the discussion.  The Cooperative is composed of twelve shellfish farmers who operate in the greater waters of the New Meadows River from Small Point Harbor in Phippsburg to Princes Point in Brunswick to bring Maine people locally farmed, sustainable oysters and shellfish.

The Governor today also joined Senate Majority Leader Eloise Vitelli (D-Arrowsic) for a walking tour of downtown Bath, visiting Bath Sweet Shoppe, Union & Co, Now You’re Cooking, Lisa Marie’s Made in Maine Shop, and Reny’s.  The Governor also visited the Bath Recovery Community Center and had lunch at the Kennebec Tavern.  Following the tour, she expressed her optimism about the future and encouraged Maine people to shop local.

“Downtown Bath is a beautiful community with tremendous history, great restaurants, and extraordinary small businesses,” said Governor Mills.  “I love this community and Sagadahoc County, which have so much to offer our state. With inflation, I know times can be tough, but I am hopeful about the future and, as we head into the long-awaited summer, I encourage Maine people to get out and enjoy their communities, shop local, and support their local small businesses.”

The Governor’s visit to Sagadahoc County comes as she travels across the state to meet with local business and community leaders.  Last week, the Governor visited Piscataquis County.

Earlier in the day, Governor Mills also joined U.S. Senator Angus King and officials from Greater Portland METRO and Biddeford Saco Old Orchard Beach Transit to introduce four electric buses (two per agency) to their fleets.