Darling Marine Center awarded $1.5M to support aquaculture, media report

The Portland Press HeraldWABI (Channel 5) and Associated Press reported the University of Maine Darling Marine Center in Walpole was awarded $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce to support the development of Maine’s aquaculture industry. The funds will help the center demolish and replace its deteriorated pier, renovate the Flowing Seawater Laboratory, upgrade the flowing seawater system, and add three new business incubation laboratory spaces, the Press Herald reported. The improvements will ensure the continuing availability of marine environmental and ecosystem data essential to the management of Maine’s coastal fisheries, and the long-term health as well as sustainability of the commercial fishing economy, according to the Economic Development Administration, which announced the funds in a news release. Maine’s aquaculture industry was valued at $7 million in 2016, but analysts predict it can grow to over $30 million by 2030 with proper investment, according to the Press Herald. U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Angus King also announced the funds. “For more than five decades, researchers and students at UMaine’s Darling Marine Center have provided marine environmental and ecosystem data that is critical to our state’s commercial fishing and aquaculture industries,” King and Collins said in a joint statement. “We are delighted that this investment will allow the center to continue its important work as well as expand job opportunities in the aquaculture and technology sectors in the region.” Miami Herald and U.S. News & World Report carried the AP article.