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Maine Algae Cluster Planning Project

 Maine has been home to seaweed (macroalgae) businesses for almost 80 years, with a focus on macroalgae as whole foods, nutraceuticals, and as ingredients and extracts used in food production, animal feeds, fertilizers, and agricultural products. The industry has developed technologies and accumulated substantial information and experience in harvesting, preparing, marketing, and selling Maine seaweeds. The microalgae industry sector is less well developed, but there is considerable culturing expertise and intellectual and technical capacity in Maine. Globally microalgae are grown at significant scale for biofuels,and high-value natural products.

The Maine Technology Institute (MTI) recently funded a planning grant to support development of the Maine Algae Cluster (MAC). The MAC is an industry-driven initiative composed of commercial companies, R&D centers, educational institutions, and financing sources, with the goal to become the core accelerator that fosters growth of a sustainable, ecologically sound, and profitable algae sector in Maine. A cluster is a network of businesses, organizations, and individuals in a sector that work collaboratively and share resources to benefit the sector as a whole. One example in Maine is the marine trades cluster.  For more information about clusters, see MTI’s Cluster Initiative Program.

The Maine Algae Cluster Advisory Group (MACAG) was formed from current partners to oversee the planning phase of the Maine Algae Cluster Initiative project. The group includes representatives of seaweed wild-harvest and aquaculture businesses and associated processing activities; private, nonprofit research institutions that specialize in programs and investments in Maine’s entrepreneurial development, especially in fisheries and aquaculture; representatives of Maine’s higher academic institutions with recognized expertise in research, development, and educational outreach. This core group has the diversity of expertise and experience to develop a strategic vision for an algal cluster and an action plan to accomplish it.

The following links are documented results from the Maine Algae Cluster Planning Project:

Maine Algae Cluster Final Planning Project Brochure

Maine Algae Cluster Poster

Maine Algae Cluster Industry Survey Results

Maine Algae Cluster Market Research Results



Algae Media Coverage


December 8, 2015 CBS News What's the hot new seafood?  Hint: it's not lobster


December 7, 2015 Globe Gazette Lobster, schlobster: Seaweed is Maine's hot new product


December 6, 2015 The Journal Gazette Maine turns to seaweed


December 5, 2015 Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel Harvesters see green in Maine's seaweed


December 6, 2015 NBC News Bringing in the Green: Seaweed as new cash crop in Maine


December 6, 2015 Portland Press Herald With more varieties and growing demand, seaweed is Maine's new crop to watch 


December 6, 2015 Inverse Maine seaweed is the new kale 


December 5, 2015 Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel Harvesters see green in Maine's seaweed


December 5, 2015 Salt Lake City Tribune Seaweed is Maine's new hot culinary product


December 4, 2015 Globe and Mail Seaweed farming is booming in Maine 


September 13, 2015 Portland Press Herald Society notebook: Sea Farmers' Feast


June 9, 2015 Bangor Daily News Grant aims to help Maine algae industry bloom 


May 29, 2015 Maine Biz MTI gives $50,000 to boost algal industry 


May 28, 2015 Eurek Alert Algal industry to organize to capture growing business opportunities


May 6, 2015 Topix Aquaculture Bigelow Laboratory exploring collaborations to increase competitiveness of Maine's aquaculture industry


June 9, 2015 Bangor Daily News Grant aims to help Maine algae industry bloom 

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