Beals, ME—The Maine Community Foundation recently named the Downeast Institute (DEI) the recipient of a $10,000 grant through its Downeast Innovation Fund. The award recognizes and supports DEI’s commitment to improving the lives of downeast people through supporting the region’s cultural and economic connections to the marine environment. The project, which collaborates with the Sunrise County Economic Council in Machias, will begin a multi-year process to test the biological and financial feasibility of raising farmed mussels in Washington County.

“DEI is excited that we are developing hatchery technology that can help existing mussel growers in Maine, and possibly create a new entrepreneurship opportunity in Washington County.” said Dianne Tilton, DEI’s Executive Director.

Blue mussels are currently not farmed in Washington County. As part of the grant, DEI’s hatchery technicians will test the rate of hatchery mussel growth in Washington County locations. The Sunrise County Economic Council will use the mussel growth data to evaluate the profit potential of mussel aquaculture in this region.

The Maine Community Foundation’s Downeast Innovation Fund supports projects that have the potential to positively impact the eastern Maine economy by growing local businesses and inspiring new ones to begin.

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