Maine Aquaculture Co-op
The Maine Aquaculture Co-op (Co-op) is Maine’s first aquaculture cooperative, with a board and membership comprised of Maine fishermen and aquaculturists. We seek to expand Maine’s seafood-producing industries through the thoughtful integration of fishing and farming, to diversify income opportunities for Maine fishermen, maintain our robust working waterfront, and strengthen our coastal communities. By working cooperatively, we are better able to solve technical difficulties, share best practices and resources, and leverage buying and marketing power.
The Maine Aquaculture Co-op was formed under Maine’s Fish Marketing Association law, intended to promote, foster and encourage the intelligent and orderly marketing of fish and fishery products through cooperation; to eliminate speculation and waste; to make the distribution of fish and fishery products between producer and consumer as direct as can be efficiently done; and to stabilize the marketing of fish and fishery products.
Board of Directors
Marsden Brewer, President, Commercial Fisherman and Aquaculturist, Stonington
Marsden has been a commercial fisherman all his life. His extensive fishing experience includes shrimping, scalloping, off shore ground fishing and lobstering. He owns and operates the 38’ F/V Lindsay Marie and fishes out of Stonington. Marsden has considerable experience in all matters relating to scallop aquaculture including spat collection and stock enhancement. He has collaborated with scientists in Maine (including Dan Schick, Scott Feindel and Dana Morse) for over 15 years on research, outreach and education regarding scallop aquaculture. For the past three years he’s received an LPA permit from DMR for growing scallops and recently participated a cohort that traveled to Japan to learn about the ear-hung method of scallop aquaculture. Marsden is a former member of the DMR Advisory Council, has been a selectman for the town of Stonington for 6 years and with his wife Donna, runs Red Barn Farm retail shop featuring lobsters and his farms’ goat milk cheese and soap.
Robert (Bob) Brewer, Vice President, Commercial Fisherman and Aquaculturist, Stonington
Bob is a lifetime fisherman from Stonington with experience in the clam, scallop, mussel, urchin and lobster fisheries. He has considerable experience with scallop aquaculture and has worked on spat collection and stock enhancement for over 15 years, including collaboration with scientists on a number of different projects. Bob has an LPA permit from DMR for growing scallops and recently participated a cohort that traveled to Japan to learn about the ear-hung method of scallop aquaculture.
Peter Miller, Treasurer, Commercial Fisherman, Tenants Harbor
Peter Miller has been a commercial fisherman for over 40 years. His fishing career has included ground fishing, scalloping, shrimping and lobstering, all from Tenants Harbor. Peter sat on the board of the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative for 3 years and currently sits on the board of the Tenants Harbor Fisherman’s Co-op, which he helped found. With his three brothers, Peter ran his family’s commercial fishing wharf for more than a dozen years. In that capacity he was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the wharf, including financial oversight of the business, as well as the buying and selling of lobsters.
Merritt Carey, Secretary, Yarmouth
An attorney by trade, for more than a decade, Merritt has been a consultant to a wide range of clients. Merritt’s skill set includes marketing and communication, rural economic development and project development, implementation and management. Merritt sits on the board of the Tenants Harbor Fishermen’s Co-op, which, in collaboration with Luke Holden and the Miller family, she helped found. The Tenants Harbor Fisherman’s Co-op is Maine’s only vertically integrated fisherman’s co-op, partnering with Luke’s Lobster and Cape Seafood to bring Maine lobsters to Luke’s customers around the world. Merritt also has considerable on-the-water skills; she raced around the world on the second all female team to participate in the Whitbread-Around-the-World Ocean Race and was a member of the first all women's America’s Cup Team. An occasional stern man, Merritt knows her way around the stern of a lobster boat and writes about her experiences for the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative. Merritt is a graduate of Brown University, attended the University of Auckland School of Law in New Zealand and graduated (magna cum laude) from the University of Maine School of Law.
Gordon (Skip) Connell, Member-at-Large, Commercial Fisherman and Aquaculturist, Spruce Head
Skip is a lifetime fisherman with over 40 years of experience including scalloping out of New Bedford, MA, along coastal Maine in a day boat, and groundfishing in the Gulf of Maine, Georges Bank and the Grand Bank of Newfoundland. Currently Skip lobster-fishes out of Spruce Head and is involved with Maine Mariculture Company, an aquaculture company growing scallops and oysters off of Pleasant Island, in western Penobscot Bay. Skip has considerable experience with scallop spat collection and was a member of the contingent which traveled to Japan recently to learn about the ear-hung method of scallop aquaculture. Skip has made a living working on the water and is well versed in all marine-related matters, including building and setting moorings. He currently manages a moring cooperative on Spruce Head Island. Skip sat on the board of the Spruce Head Fisherman’s Co-op for 6 years, serving as president for 2 and currently is the vice chair for the cooperatively managed Transfer Stations of Owls Head, South Thomaston and Thomaston. He also served on the South Thomaston Comprehensive Plan Committee for 3 years, and has been a Maine literacy tutor for 8 years.
Brendan Atwood, Member-at-Large, Maine Mariculture Co, Pleasant Island
Brendan Atwood has successfully managed two Limited Purpose Aquaculture permits (LPAs) in Maine, beginning in 2013, growing oyster and scallops. Brendan received his Masters Degree in Public Policy, with a specialization in Environmental Policy. His master thesis focused on oyster aquaculture, and included a detailed analysis of the industry in the Chesapeake Bay, including the eco-services and economic benefits associated with the practice. Brendan has worked closely with local industry leaders in Maine to develop a fledgling scallop aquaculture industry in the state, and is currently one of just several farms permitted to cultivate scallops for this purpose under a special DMR license. Maine Mariculture is working under two research grants to evaluate scallop aquaculture growout techniques. Supplementing this extensive academic and applied experience in shellfish aquaculture is a suite of skills and expertise which have been honed in a number of professional settings including project and business management, marketing, outreach, impact analyses, and business planning. Brendan has also been certified as a NAUI Advanced SCUBA Diver for nearly 15 years, and maintains a boat operator’s license.
Luke Holden, Member-at-Large, Founder, Luke’s Lobster and Cape Seafood, Biddeford, CEO and co-founder of Luke’s Lobster and Cape Seafood, Luke studied finance and management at Georgetown University, and worked as a financial analyst on Wall Street before starting Luke’s Lobster. Luke’s Lobster currently has 22 locations across the U.S. and 5 locations in Japan. With its processing plant Cape Seafood, Luke’s Lobster is dedicated to sourcing sustainable seafood and returning value to Maine’s fishermen. Through Luke’s/Cape’s robust traceability program, developed in partnership with the Tenants Harbor Fisherman’s Co-op, which Luke helped found, Cape Seafood is now a Whole Foods supplier. Luke sits on the board of the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative; The Lobster Institute and the Tenants Harbor Fisherman’s Co-op.
Ryan McPherson, Member-at-Large, Glidden Point Oysters
Ryan brings a lifetime of commercial fishing and aquaculture experience to the Board. He grew up in Massachusetts spending his summers lobster fishing and fluke fishing off of Nantucket Island. He studied Business Entrepreneurship Hofstra University, while working at Madaket Marine on Nantucket Island during the summer. After college he bought his own fishing boat and began fishing on his own. He found aquaculture working on a grant funded research project on mussel farming on Martha's Vineyard and then moved onto to learn about oyster farming working on a farm in Duxbury. Last fall, Ryan purchased Glidden Point Oysters and made his home in Maine. Glidden Point has 30 acres of farms, employs 12 people and services wholesale and retail customers nationally.