During 2020, DEI conducted a pilot study to determine whether it is possible to grow oysters and other shellfish in the Downeast region’s unused lobster pounds. Cold water temperatures in Washington and Hancock Counties have prevented the development of a commercial oyster industry because oysters typically mature 2-3 times slower in cold water than in the warmer waters of southern and midcoast Maine.
The study measured seawater temperatures and oyster growth rates within 13 pounds between Beals and Deer Isle from June to November, 2020.
Overall, the pounds with the highest average temperatures and the most instances of temperatures above 70°F had the best oyster growth. The results show promise for farming oysters Downeast, which could provide an opportunity to diversify local economies. More information can be found on on our Business Development webpage here and in this report.