The University of New England is the sole American representative to a trans-Atlantic working group on aquaculture.

The university, with campuses in Biddeford and Portland, will join 35 partners in the AquaVitae Consortium to advance development, education and communication of sustainable aquaculture on four continents bordering the Atlantic Ocean, the school said in a news release Monday.

An $8.9 million grant from the European Union is funding the four-year program. The University of New England, along with the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research, will fund travel to partner institutions for research and collaboration, the school said.

“It is a tremendous honor to be the only U.S. institution in the consortium,” said Barry Cost-Pierce, executive director of UNE-North: The Institute for North Atlantic Studies. The institute and the school of marine programs will develop training and education to support the region’s growing aquaculture industry.

AquaVitae’s focus is on how to grow species low on the food chain, from microalgae to fin fish.

Universities, research institutions and companies from Scandinavia, Europe, South America and southern Africa are part of the consortium.

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