WHAT IS SEA MAINE?
SEA Maine, or the Seafood Economic Accelerator for Maine, is an industry-led initiative bringing together leaders in Maine’s commercial fishing, aquaculture, and seafood economy. Funded initially by the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, with match funding from the Maine Technology Institute and FocusMaine, the statewide initiative developed a roadmap and action plan for economic growth, market and workforce development, and greater resiliency in Maine’s seafood economy.
The seafood that comes from Maine’s coastal waters and the Gulf of Maine–not to mention the working waterfront communities along our coast–support thousands of good paying jobs and already contribute to the state’s $6 billion tourism industry. Imagine what Maine could be if our wild-caught fisheries, aquaculture businesses, fishermen, sea-farmers, and communities were granted opportunities to diversify and grow our marine economy in Maine, the U.S., and across the globe, and create new market opportunities.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH AND RESILIENCE
The COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the rapid changes occurring in the marine environment from climate change and shifts in global market demand, add up to unprecedented change but also exceptional opportunities for creating growth, resiliency, and sustainability in Maine’s marine economy. Advances in technology, Maine’s proximity to 150 million consumers within a 24-hour transport zone, the reputation of the Maine brand, and growing global interest in aquaculture and other seafood products suggest an untapped opportunity to grow good jobs and build a forward-looking economy in Maine.
Supported by investments in workforce, infrastructure, and innovation, Maine’s seafood economy is poised to attract investments into local economies, existing and new businesses, and preserve the working characteristics of our coastal communities that attract millions of tourists (and their dollars) each year.
THE “SEAFOOD MARKETPLACE” FOR NEW ENGLAND
Seafood is one of the most sustainably grown and harvested foods for human consumption. Compared to other types of food, it is produced with far less environmental impact, and in some cases, even improves environmental quality. In the 1800s Maine’s agricultural sector gave the state the moniker of the “Breadbasket of New England;” Our seafood economy, well supported by these efforts, can transform Maine into the “fish counter” for New England and beyond for years to come.
SEA Maine will create economic growth and resiliency in Maine’s seafood economy by:
- Providing support to sustain Maine’s existing marine resource businesses by growing and diversifying markets for Maine seafood.
- Supporting the needs of today and the future of workforce in Maine’s marine economy
- Attracting investment and talent in the seafood economy to support new technology and product development in the sector
- Strengthening Maine’s coastal communities through the preservation and improvements of our working waterfronts.
- Increasing the amount and value of marine living resources originating from Maine’s coastal waters in a way that minimizes the carbon footprint of the marine resource sector, increases competitiveness of Maine businesses, and maximizes resiliency and diversification.