Sustainable Fisheries & Aquaculture

40 years of fisheries and aquaculture experience

CEI’s involvement in Maine’s fisheries, aquaculture, and marine trades sectors spans our 40-year history.  Since we began in 1977, CEI has put over $18 million dollars into promising marine businesses — translating to  2,200 jobs created or retained in our communities and benefiting over 670 fishing boats, 1100 fishermen and 1200 Maine families along protected wharves.

CEI provides advising and financing to fisheries and aquaculture businesses to improve their long-term viability, create and maintain quality jobs, safeguard marine-related infrastructure and environments, and help preserve the cultural integrity of Maine’s working waterfront.

Our deep Maine roots and passion for economic development gives CEI the extensive expertise and insight into the unique challenges and opportunities faced by entrepreneurs in the fishery and aquaculture sectors. We do more than find funding for vessels and upwellers —we forge networks, embrace modern technologies, advocate for better policies, and celebrate the way these sectors sustain our Maine way of life.

Whether you are an aquaculturist or fisherman, harvester, processor, dealer or wholesaler, we can provide technical assistance and financing for your start-up, invention, expansion, equipment and infrastructure projects. Be it lending, advice, or both, CEI’s Fisheries/ Aquaculture Program is here to help.


Methods and Materials for Aquaculture Production of Sea Scallops Atlantic sea scallops (Placopecten magellanicus) present an aquaculture opportunity in the northeast US because of their high value, broad market demand, and favorable growth rate.  The US market for scallop adductor muscles, or scallop ‘meats’, is large: US landings averaged nearly $380M between 2000 –2016 (Anonymous, 2019). Despite the opportunities, the species has presented challenges and the processes and equipment for scallop production in the northeast US continue to evolve. This sheet  outlines the major processes, equipment, and considerations involved in scallop farming. Download the Fact Sheet.

MA South Coast Aquaculture: Opportunities for Aquaculture on the Massachusetts South Coast: A Sector Analysis – CEI was contracted by the Garfield Foundation and Santander Bank to perform a sector analysis of the current and future economic opportunities for sustainable aquaculture specific to the South Coast of Massachusetts.  This area is comprised of the City of New Bedford and the towns of Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Marion, Mattapoisett, Wareham and Westport. This growing and emerging industry holds potential for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the South Coast and is an area of interest for future job growth and economic prosperity for the region. Download the MA South Coast Aquaculture Analysis report.

Maine Based Seafood Distribution Study – In the current movement to support locally produced foods and rebuild local and regional food systems, the emphasis to date has been on agricultural products. Seafood is not well-integrated into these discussions and efforts. To advance the goal of integrating seafood into a comprehensive Maine food distribution and sales network, CEI is conducting a feasibility study to identify the opportunities and challenges to providing more locally produced fresh and frozen seafood to consumers. Visit the online Maine Seafood Study tool.

Current Initiatives

  • Aquaculture in Shared Waters—A practical hands on aquaculture course offered to fishermen from a team representing CEI, University of Maine faculty, Sea Grant associates, Maine Aquaculture Association, Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center and the Downeast Institute. Beginning on January 6, the 2020 course will be offered at our Brunswick office at 30 Federal Street, with the option to live stream classes from the UMaine Hutchinson Center in Belfast. Students enrolled will receive training for kelp, mussel and oyster farming start-ups. Learn more here: Aquaculture in Shared Waters 2020
  • Scallop Aquaculture Tech Transfer—CEI is currently leading a tech transfer effort with commercial fishermen and shellfish growers in Maine to culture Atlantic Sea scallops. The effort is in collaboration with representatives from Aomori, Japan where a well-established scallop aquaculture industry currently exists. CEI is purchasing and testing specialized scallop farm machinery to further advance the development of Maine’s scallop aquaculture industry.