PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — About a decade after state's salmon-farming industry tanked, the aquaculture industry is continuing to rebound and has become more diverse than it was when it consisted solely of Atlantic salmon.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said last week that the state's salmon-heavy aquaculture industry is second in Maine only to lobster in terms of the fishery's total value.
According to NOAA Fisheries, Maine's aquaculture had a value last year of $81 million, said spokeswoman Maggie Mooney-Seus. That's more than double the $38 million value of elvers. Of course, both pale in comparison to Maine's lobster catch, valued last year at a record $341 million.
Sebastian Belle from the Maine Aquaculture Association said the industry is in better shape now than before the crash because of new salmon aquaculture practices and a greater variety of aquaculture offerings, with shellfish now accounting for roughly 20 percent of the value of the catch and freshwater trout now being raised in Maine.
Furthermore, there's been an influx into the industry of younger people — most of them displaced commercial fishermen.