Fermented, Raw, Smoked, or Steamed: Celebrate the Holidays with Farmed Seafood from Maine

HALLOWELL, MAINE – The Maine Aquaculture Association (MAA) reminds us to thank a sea farmer this holiday season and celebrate the holidays with sustainably farmed seafood from Maine.

Whether fermented, raw, smoked or steamed, serving farmed finfish, shellfish, and sea vegetables from Maine is a delicious and sustainable way to observe festivities while supporting generations of sea farmers who share Maine’s working waterfront with their commercial fishery colleagues.

“Maine’s cold, clean waters are ideal for farming some of the freshest and most sustainable food in the world,” said Sebastian Belle, Executive Director, Maine Aquaculture Association. “This holiday season, we encourage people to consider where their seafood comes from to source locally and sustainably.”

Whether the menu includes oysters on the half shell for a candlelit dinner or cured salmon gravlax for a bagel brunch, farmed seafood from Maine is a festive addition to gatherings with friends and family. Scallop ceviche with seasonal citrus, steamed mussels with garlicky broth, and even kelp-rich, detox smoothies all have a place at the holiday table. Often, preparing these dishes requires only fresh farmed seafood from Maine and a squeeze of lemon or a quick poach or sauté. For more recipes and serving suggestions featuring farmed seafood from Maine, please visit https://maineaqua.org/recipes/.

“Generations of Maine’s sea farming families brave the elements and navigate the waters 356 days of the year to produce delicious seafood. Please remember to thank a sea farmer this holiday season,” continued Belle.

Farmers like the de Konings have farmed mussels as a family tradition for six generations and today weather Downeast conditions at their family farm, Hollander & de Koning in Trenton. When the family immigrated to Maine in 2004, they brought authentic “Dutch style” mussels with them, started their own company, and have since diversified into oyster and scallop aquaculture.

Down the road in Bar Harbor, Joanna Fogg has created a new family tradition at her farm Bar Harbor Oyster Company where she farms with her husband and young daughter Iona, who often rides along with them. Established in 2014, the family hand-farms its Bar Harbor Blonde oysters sustainably in the Mt. Desert Narrows, where they get their distinct merroir.

In Casco Bay at Kettle Cove Scallops, Nate Perry has been farming oysters and scallops for almost a decade. Hailing from a family of lobstermen, he was inspired by the local food movement and a passion to preserve the pristine coast of Maine. Nate harvests wild juvenile scallops offshore and raises them in floating gear off Cape Elizabeth where he strongly believes that aquaculture and commercial fishing can and should coexist.

To meet more of Maine’s aquaculture farmers sustainably growing seafood on the working waterfront, please visit https://maineaqua.org/video-gallery/

As a global leader and pioneer in aquaculture, Maine has developed best practices and established strict standards, many of which are now used throughout the U.S. and around the world.

Maine Aquaculture by the Numbers

  • More than 25 diverse species of finfish, shellfish and sea vegetables are farmed in Maine.
  • Maine aquaculture represents $85-$110 million a year in sales.
  • Maine aquaculture provides jobs for more than 700 year-round employees across 200 farms (source: [2017 Maine Aquaculture Economic Impact Report)
  • More than 99% of Maine sea farms are family-owned
  • One in six Maine sea farmers holds a commercial fishing license. Aquaculture supplements fishing income that may continue to slip away due to climate change and regulations.
  • Maine aquaculture has enjoyed responsible growth over the last 20 years at an average rate of 2%. Globally, aquaculture is growing at 8% per year.
  • Less than 1% of Maine’s coastal waters are used for aquaculture.
  • Pound per pound, Maine aquaculture produces among the lowest carbon footprints of any animal protein.

About the Maine Aquaculture Association
The Maine Aquaculture Association (MAA) est. 1978, is a nonprofit trade association that advocates for and unites Maine’s finfish, shellfish, and sea vegetable farmers in collaboration with commercial fishing colleagues. MAA’s mission is to support the state’s aquatic growers in developing economically and environmentally sustainable business practices, to promote the benefits of aquaculture in the local food system, and to preserve Maine’s heritage of a vibrant working waterfront. Maine Aquaculture Association members include Atlantic Sea Farms, Bangs Island Mussels, Bar Harbor Oyster Company, Cooke Aquaculture, Dodge Cove Marine Farm, Hollander & de Koning, Kennebec River Biosciences, Muscongus Bay Aquaculture, and Pemaquid Oyster Company, among many others.