A recent front-page headline, “Maine expects near-zero job growth over decade” (Aug. 7), raises serious concerns for all Mainers. However, there appears to be hope on the job horizon that your article did not mention.

New careers lie in harvesting the bounty of our seas through aquaculture. There is a quiet but steady growth in the number of sea farmers raising oysters, mussels, kelp and scallops along the Maine coast. Some leaders of this movement are lobstering families who want to diversify their incomes, hedging their bets on sea farming to supplement the traditional hunt for lobsters. Alongside those lobstering families are growing numbers of entrepreneurs from Maine and other parts of the country who see opportunities to create new businesses working on the water.

Maine can become a major supplier of seafood to our own country. The quality of our aquaculture products is excellent. Currently the U.S. imports over 90 percent of the seafood we consume, about 50 percent of which is farmed in foreign waters where safety of the harvest is nowhere close to our own standards. Maine has the advantage of colder, cleaner sea water than most of our international competitors. Although less than .001 percent of our coastline is currently leased for farming, the Maine Department of Marine Resources is poised to help transform aquaculture into a major business for our children’s future.

Please become familiar with opportunities unfolding by viewing “Maine Coast Harvest,” two new documentaries. Free public showings of these short films will take place Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. at Talbot Hall on the Portland campus of the University of Southern Maine, and on Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. at the Lincoln Community Theater in Damariscotta. You can also find them and more at mainecoastharvest.com, plus additional information about aquaculture jobs at MaineAquaculture.com, GMRI.org and IslandInstitute.org.

Bill and Patty Zimmerman

Peaks Island


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