Mussel Farming Alive and Well in Maine
A new company has emerged from the demise of Great Eastern Mussel Farms of Tenants Harbor, Maine, according to a Dec. 19 report in the Working Waterfront.
Pemaquid Mussel Farms was formed by several mussel growers in April, two months before Great Eastern went out of business after nearly 30 years.
The owner-operated company is led by Carter Newall, a biologist with a Ph.D. who worked with Great Eastern since its inception developing its quality control standards, among other jobs.
“There’s a lot of value to employees owning the company,” Newall told the Working Waterfront. “You put in that extra 20 percent effort because it’s your company.”
Several of the growers got their start in mussel raft culture (as opposed to bottom culture) with help from Great Eastern. Pemaquid Mussel Farms has a total of 10 rafts on four different farms located on the Damariscotta River, in Belfast Bay and off Stonington and Lamoine, Maine. There are about four other mussel growers using rope culture.
The company, which focuses on local markets, currently sells about 3,000 pounds of mussels a week but hopes to increase production to 5,000 pounds.
The company’s value-added products include larger mussels shucked by Oceanville Seafood in Stonington and hickory and cherry wood-smoked mussels by Stonington Seafood Products.