Downeast Institute is fortunate to share an island with one of the largest shellfish dealers in Maine. A.C. Inc. is an engaged and eager strategic partner, volunteering its space and assets to DEI for research that can help sustain fishing communities.
Efforts to join Maine’s growing oyster aquaculture industry have not been viable in the Downeast region because cultured oyster seed grows very slowly in our colder water. American oysters take four to six years (or longer) in eastern Maine to reach market size, compared to two years in the Damariscotta River region. In 2020, A.C. Inc. participated in a lobster pound study conducted by DEI to determine whether unused pounds in Downeast Maine could be used for oyster aquaculture, since initial observations were that the water in lobster pounds was warmer than the surrounding ocean.
Results of the study indicated many lobster pounds could be warm enough for American oysters, which grew quite well in the 2020 trials. They grew so well in a lobster pound situated at Flying Place between Dobbins, Beals and Great Wass Islands, that its owner, the president of A.C. Inc., donated space for DEI to install and operate a demonstration oyster farm to help show other pound owners how it can work. We installed the farm in 2021. Look for our Three Islands Oysters at select locations.