Blue Economy

Blue Economy

Maine’s blue economy aims to transform waste into revenue and play an important role to address global challenges.

The blue economy is an evolving and innovative industry sector dedicated to improved use of aquatic resources – such as seaweed, algae, and microorganisms – for economic growth. With a focus on sustainability, the blue economy relies on renewable aquatic resources to deliver a wide variety of products including nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, biobased materials, and even energy.

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Discovering new ways to utilize all components of aquatic resources and develop higher-value products helps Maine coastal communities create sustainable economic growth and local jobs for future generations.

60% of farmed edible seaweed in the US comes from Maine

Economic impact estimated at $3.2 billion and 33,300 jobs in Maine annually

By 2025 Maine’s aquaculture exports could be worth $800 million

Overall, the impact of Maine’s fisheries (or Maine’s Blue Economy) is an estimated $3.2 billion and 33,300 jobs annually.

Maine seaweed production has experienced tremendous growth from 45,000 pounds in 2017 to over 1 million pounds in 2022.

Aquaculture – including farmed fish and shellfish – is the fastest-growing food production method in the world. From 2014 to 2022, Maine’s aquaculture harvest more than doubled in volume and in value. The Maine aquaculture industry’s revenue is between $85 and $110 million annually. Aquaculture farmers in Maine produce more than 25 diverse species. Topping the list are salmon, oysters, mussels, and kelp.

A Seaweed Crop Finds a Spot in Maine Waters

Seaweed is making its way into more foods, cosmetics, and even pet kibble. In the US, most of that seaweed is imported from Asia.

One of the biggest producers in the US is Maine-based Atlantic Sea Farms. The 40 or so farmers that work with the company harvested 1.3 million pounds of kelp in 2024.

Atlantic Sea Farms then buys the kelp at a fixed price. The company tests and treats the seaweed before incorporating it into food products sold at retail stores, including Whole Foods, and ingredients it sells to other companies to add to their products. 

Biddeford kelp company has record harvest as seaweed industry prospers

Atlantic Sea Farms, a seaweed farming company in Biddeford, doubled its harvest from last year and has more “partner farmers” and retail outlets than ever. The company partners with fishing families to farm kelp in Maine, Rhode Island and Alaska.

Called a ‘game-changer,’ dehydrator will handle up to 30K pounds of kelp a day

Financed by Coastal Enterprises Inc. and Ocean’s Balance, the dehydrator will be a game-changer for Maine’s seaweed farming industry and could process 30,000 pounds of seaweed in just one day.

Blue w(AI)ve Accelerator

A partnership between Gulf of Maine Ventures and The Roux Institute at Northeastern University to drive blue technology innovation, the program focuses on early-stage companies leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) in ocean-based solutions. The  first-of-its-kind 16-week accelerator focuses on early-stage companies leveraging artificial intelligence in ocean-based solutions.

Aquaculture: Bringing Climate Resilience to Maine’s Blue Economy

Investing in aquaculture supports community economic development by diversifying income streams along the rural coastline and builds climate resilience, helping to ensure that families that have worked Maine’s waters for generations can  do so for generations to come while also welcoming a new crop of sea farmers to the coast.

Industry Support

Creative, cutting-edge science fusing the best of scientific inquiry and entrepreneurial ingenuity

Interdisciplinary approach combines world-class marine research with robust community and education programming to understand how natural, social, and economic systems interact

Business development and impact investment arm of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute to bridge the gap between innovative, blue economy businesses and the capital, technical
knowledge, and networks needed to help them grow

Works to sustain Maine‘s island and coastal communities and exchanges ideas and experiences to further the sustainability of communities here and elsewhere

Non-profit trade association that represents the Maine aquaculture industry at the state, federal, and international levels

In partnership with University of Maine Cooperative Extension, sponsor scientific research and develop tomorrow’s marine workforce

Private-sector, membership-based entity to connect people within the ocean economy and encourage an innovative and sustainable approach to realizing economic opportunity

Leading food research institute that conducts research and development for the aquaculture, fishing, and food industry sectors

In direct response to a gap in industry support identified by aquaculture business owners, a space for Maine’s thriving aquaculture community to share, learn, and grow with each other

In Good Company

International Investors

We’d love to hear from you to discuss your interest in this sector and Maine’s advantages.

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