Stories of our connected and rapidly changing region.

cpb-logo

Why Maine Lobstermen Are Looking To Farmed Scallops To Stay Afloat

Marsden Brewer with his son and business partner Bobby, hauling Japanese-style "lantern nets" full of scallops -- worth $1.50 and more each, once full grown. Photo by Fred Bever for Maine Public

Marsden Brewer with his son and business partner Bobby, hauling Japanese-style “lantern nets” full of scallops — worth $1.50 and more each, once full grown. Photo by Fred Bever for Maine Public

Marsden Brewer is a third-generation Maine fishermen who docks in Stonington.

“I’ve been involved in all the fisheries over my lifetime,” he says.

These days it’s mostly lobster, but he has fished cod and shrimp, and carted urchin to market. They were all once-vibrant species, but now they’re mostly off-limits after being overfished and weakened by climate change.

“I’ve seen the collapse and been part of the collapse of most of the fisheries. Not intentionally, but just the way it was set up to work it wasn’t sustainable, and this project here is looking at sustainability in a fishery,” he says.

The project Brewer refers to is a 20-year effort to diversify his business by developing a profitable scallop farm. He used to scatter baby scallops in the bay, then trawl up the adults a couple years later. Success was limited though.

Now, from his 38-foot lobster boat moored more than a mile offshore, he’s experimenting with methods from Japan, where scallop farming is a long tradition.

Visit Maine Public for the full story.