Sustainable Fisheries

Sustainable Fisheries/Aquaculture Program

Fisheries Project History

CEI’s involvement in Maine’s fisheries, aquaculture, and marine trades sectors spans our 38 year history.  In 1977 when the reauthorization of the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act established a 200-mile fishery conservation zone with Regional Fishery Management Councils, CEI committed to  investment in and outreach to the industry.

Fisheries Project Goal

The goal of CEI’s Fisheries and Working Waterfront Programs is to 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 that:

  • Generate and maintain good quality jobs
  • Strengthen shoreside marine infrastructure
  • Improve management of sustainably harvested marine resources
  • Reuse and/or recycle waste streams and reduce energy consumption
  • Add value to marine resources
  • Shorten the seafood distribution chain and sell seafood with transparency and traceability

Commercial Fisheries/Aquaculture and Working Waterfront Revolving Loan Fund

CEI manages a Fisheries/Aquaculture/Working Waterfront Revolving Loan Fund capitalized with many private and public sources. We use the fund to provide competitive, fixed-rate financing with flexible repayment terms fashioned to the needs of qualifying commercial fishing, aquaculture and marine trade businesses. We offer flexible debt, lines of credit, equity and equity-like investments, and guarantees in amounts from $10,000 to $500,000. For large requests we can coordinate multiple sources of capital for the client.

Loan Fund Cumulative Impacts

By the second quarter of 2016 we have made 240 loans totaling $17.74 million that leveraged an additional $55.8 million of investments from partnering providers. The financing created or retained a mix of full and part-time jobs totaling 2,177.

Access to Free Business Counseling

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.

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.

Current Initiatives

Fisheries Project Staff are involved in a number of other Sector Initiatives that keep us engaged with the commercial fishing, aquaculture and marine trade businesses. Contact us about any of the initiatives listed below.

  • Maine’s Working Waterfront Access Protection Program—in partnership with the Maine Department of Marine Resources and the Land for Maine’s Future program we are actively preserving strategically significant commercial fishing properties along the Maine coast.
  • Building Financing Capacity for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation—in partnership with other CDFI’s from around the country we are delivering strategies for successful lending and equity investments in the nation’s commercial fisheries businesses which operate responsibly.
  • 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 and the Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center in partnership with the Maine Sea Grant Program, Maine Aquaculture Association and the Maine Aquaculture Innovation Cetner. The third course in 3 years is underway with about 30 students enrolled training fishermen for kelp, mussel and oyster farming start-ups.
  • Scallop Aquaculture Tech Transfer—CEI is currently planning a tech transfer exchange trip with commercial fishermen and established shellfish growers in Maine who have been experimenting with culturing scallops. In the fall of 2016 a gorup from Maine will assemple for an intensive one week exchange trip with the scallop aquaculture industry in Aomori, Japan to advance the development of Maine’s scallop aquaculture industry. Researching an equity based seed capital fund for food system related businesses.
  • Ethnic Market Study—to include both agriculture and fisheries in placing Maine food products from underprivileged areas into the Northeastern states’ food supply.

Past Initiatives

  • Maine Seafood Distribution Study—in partnership with CT based Wholesome Wave we are working to connect Maine seafood harvesters, processors and other businesses with “food hubs” across New England.
  • Nationwide research on Financial Tools to invest in Working Waterfronts—with multiple partners we have assembled an online resource to fund the preservation of working waterfronts
  • Microloans to purchase efficient semi-pelagic trawl doors and fuel flow meters—in partnership with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute we provide loans for the purchase of efficiency enhanced gear.
  • Trade Adjustment Assistance Program—a project run by the US Department of Agriculture, CEI staff business plan development and counseling services for hundreds of Maine lobstermen.

Contact our Fisheries and Aquaculture SpecialistS

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

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