Sustainable Fisheries

Sustainable Fisheries/Aquaculture Program

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 over 250 loans that have resulted in 2,200 jobs created or retained in our communities.

CEI provides advising and financing to fisheries and aquaculture businesses to improve their long-term viability, create and maintain quality jobs, nurture and protect marine-related infrastructure and environments, and help preserve the cultural integrity of Maine’s working waterfront. We foster the sustainable development of fisheries, aquaculture and marine trades businesses and communities by making investments, initiating projects, supporting policies and assisting marine-related enterprises with both financial and non-financial technical support.

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.


Our business development advisors lend their expertise, connections, and hands-on support— whatever it takes to make sure you and your business succeed.  CEI offers free, confidential consulting and support – coordinating a team approach that utilizes our Fisheries and Aquaculture staff sector specialists, localized business advisors, and our loan officers to help with the following:

  • Sector Expertise
  • Credit and financing
  • Accounting, record keeping and cash flow analysis
  • Business start-up and acquisition
  • Strategic planning & operations
  • Marketing and sales

Access to Free Business Consulting

We coordinate team-based business planning with the Maine Small Business Development Center (SBDC) or the Women’s Business Center (WBC) which are housed in our facilities. Our Fisheries and Aquaculture sector specialists connect the clients with nearby business counselors for face to face confidential meetings. Loan applications accompanied by solid business plans have a better chance for approval.


CEI offers a variety of financing, including flexible debt, lines of credit, and equity. We often coordinate multiple sources of capital with other financial institutions to achieve the best results. Our offerings include:

  • Micro loans from $5,000 to $50,000 for small business or startup costs
  • Business loans from $50,000 to $3 million for equipment, property, and working capital
  • SBA 7(a) financing from $350,000 to $5 million
  • Equity investments up to $1 million

TO APPLY FOR Financing

Fill out CEI’s general loan application. Mail the completed application to: CEI Lending Department, 30 Federal Street, Suite 100, Brunswick, ME 04011. A confirmation of receipt and a timeline for loan consideration will be forthcoming.


Contact our Fisheries and Aquaculture SpecialistS

Hugh Cowperthwaite
Director, Fisheries Project
(207) 535-2920

Nick Branchina
Associate Director, Fisheries & Aquaculture Programs
(207) 504-5862


Learn more about our current and past initiatives.