The Maine Shellfish Learning Network is made up of a diverse group of collaborators and organizations. Partnerships between individuals and civic, tribal, state agency, non-profit, scientific, educational and related sectors are key to success in applied shellfish projects and coastal adaptation. Our list of partners is continually growing and here are some that have helped form the network:
Broad Reach Fund of the Maine Community Foundation
The Broad Reach Fund of the Maine Community Foundation, and our partner Andrea Perry who serves as their grants coordinator, support these efforts in many different ways. The Maine Shellfish Restoration and Resilience Fund was made possible through their funding and logistical support, and they also provide resources for learning network activities.
Casco Bay REgional Shellfish Working Group
The Casco Bay Regional Shellfish Working Group (CBRSWG) was launched in 2019 to support municipal shellfish management programs and improve conservation, research, and management across the towns in Casco Bay. Since then, they have organized many different events, webinars, and helped support work across the entire coast.
Downeast Fisheries Partnership
The Downeast Fisheries Partnership’s mission is to support robust fisheries and regional fisheries economies in Downeast Maine. As a non-profit, they bring together a diverse range of partners with extensive experience from fisherman, fisheries management, food systems, and community economics to support communities from Hancock to Washington county. For more information about this group, visit their website here.
The Downeast Institute and Marine Research Laboratory is committed to assisting coastal communities through research and innovative solutions to supporting wild and cultured fisheries. They have led and collaborated on several Maine Shellfish Resilience and Restoration projects as part of their commitment to providing technical assistance to wild-shellfish restoration efforts occurring across Maine. To learn more about their projects and research with coastal communities visit their website here.
Maine Department of Marine REsources
Collaborators in the Bureau of Public Health, and especially the water quality program and the area biologists who assist with Maine’s shellfish co-management program, have provided essential support for the applied shellfish projects along the coast. For more information on this state agency and their vital role in sustaining coastal fisheries and water quality, visit their website here.
Maine e-DNA Project
Maine-eDNA is a 5-year research, education and outreach program that seeks to transform our understanding and sustainability of Maine’s coastal ecosystems via environmental DNA (eDNA) innovations that allow new understanding of ecosystem connections and pattersn and that support new and ongoing interdisciplinary partnerships. Follow this link to learn more about Maine-eDNA. Visit the Maine Center for Genetics in the Environment to learn more about UMaine’s efforts to foster broad-based environmental genetics collaborations, partnerships, and infrastructure.
MAINE INDIAN TRIBAL-STATE COMMISSION (MITSC)
MITSC is an inter-governmental entity comprised of a committee of representatives from all four Wabanaki nations and state appointees to oversee the effectiveness of the Maine Implementing Act, with a specific focus on fisheries and wildlife in Maine. Within their responsibilities, MITSC completes studies to inform decisions about management policies to support fish and wildlife populations. Recently, they engaged the MSLN to contribute to a report to define and describe fisheries (and shellfish) through Wabanaki definitions of sustenance to inform state and tribal management of these resources. To learn more about MITSC, click here.
Maine Shellfish Advisory Council
ShAC is comprised of representatives from multiple levels of the shellfish industry from harvesters, aquaculturalists, shellfish dealers, wardens, and partnering organizations. Their role focuses on discussing the broader issues and or regulatory changes need to support the shellfish industry now and into the future. A full list of the meetings, topics, and activities discussed by ShAC can be found here.
Maine Shellfish, Inc
This industry partner first established itself from distributing soft-shell clams to communities, markets, and restaurants in the Northeast. Due to the importance of shellfish for Maine fisheries, Maine Shellfish Inc maintains an active role within ShAC and conversations around improving shellfish resources for both harvesters and communities that buy them. To learn about Maine Shellfish Company, click here.
Maine Sea Grant
Maine Sea Grant is committed to scientific research that makes a difference in fisheries and Maine communities. To support this commitment, they utilize a 25-member advisory board comprised of representatives of the key stakeholders involved in Maine’s fisheries to help identify how to meet the needs of Maine’s fisheries and coastal communities. Visit the Maine Sea Grant website here to learn more about their partnerships with coastal communities.
NATIONAL RESEARCH TRAINEESHIP (nrt) IN CONSERVATION SCIENCE
The NRT in Conservation Science at the University of Maine is a graduate training program to help students develop applied conservation and transdisciplinary research experiences. Project Coordinator Gabby Hillyer is currently a Ph.D. student in this program and her dissertation will focus on the collaborative development of the Maine Shellfish Learning Network. She is also working closely with Manomet and the Casco Bay Regional Shellfish Working Group in her NRT program.
Senator george j. Mitchell center for sustainability solutions
The Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions (hereafter Mitchell Center) is a core partner and hub for the Maine Shellfish Learning Network. The Mitchell Center uses a sustainability science approach, which starts with listening to questions and research needs communities identify and continues through interdisciplinary partnerships to address those needs. Previous projects, including through the Sustainability Solutions Imitative and the New England Sustainability Consortium, helped build the capacity, relationships, and knowledge that led to the MSLN.
Watershed processes and estuary sustainability group
The Watershed Processes and Estuary Sustainability Group (WPES) is a collaborative interdisciplinary research group co-led by Drs. Sean Smith and Lauren Ross based at the University of Maine and affiliated with the Mitchell Center. This group works collaboratively with communities in coastal Maine to develop science to predict bacterial pollution problems affecting shellfishing communities along. Their most recent project focuses on understanding the movement of shellfish toxins in the region, featured here.