Embark on a transformative journey with our mariculture certificate program tailored for individuals aspiring to build a successful career in shellfish or sea vegetable farming and entrepreneurship. The program is designed to equip participants with a diverse set of skills, providing a solid foundation for thriving in the industry.

The Mariculture Certificate program comprises eight 10-week modules and an apprenticeship period designed to be completed in fifteen months. During each semester, students will focus on two modules with online classes two nights per week from 7:00 to 8:30 pm and hands-on activities at the Center for Professional Mariner Development in Bucksport, Maine on Saturdays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.

Section 1 | April – June 

Module 1: Introduction to Mariculture
Module 2: Fundamentals of Mariculture Business


1-week Farm Visits (no additional cost, late August)

Section 2 | September – November 

Module 3: Site Selection for a Mariculture Lease
Module 4: Small Boat Handling and Seamanship

Section 3 | January – March 

Module 5: Biology and Ecology of Mariculture Species
Module 6: Basics of Oceanography for Mariculture

Section 4 | April – June 

Module 7: Regulations and Permits for Mariculture: What, How, and Why
Module 8: Vessels, Machinery, and Husbandry for Oysters, Mussels, Scallops, and Kelp


Paid Internship

Note: Modules can be taken individually, however, all modules are required to receive Mariculture certificate.


  • High school diploma or GED
  • Access to computer and internet connectivity for Zoom classes on Tuesday and Thursday evenings
  • Proficiency in high school math
  • Basic computer skills

Seaweed on ropeProgram Cost

  • The cost is $1,000 per module for Modules 1 – 8, totaling $8,000.
  • Module 9, the internship, incurs no additional charge.

Program Highlights

  • Acquire the essential skills for thriving in the shellfish or sea vegetable farming industry, or kickstart your entrepreneurial journey in this field.
  • Develop expertise in the safe operation, navigation, maintenance, and troubleshooting of vessels.
  • Master the intricacies of forming and managing a business, covering aspects such as bookkeeping, capital raising, and crafting a comprehensive business plan.
  • Immerse yourself in the captivating realm of bivalve invertebrates and marine macroalgae through our comprehensive program. Explore the biology, physiology, and ecology of these organisms, unraveling the factors influencing their growth, yield, and interactions with predators and competitors.
  • Dive into the critical aspects of marine environments, from understanding water currents and their significance to exploring mooring systems, primary production controls, red tides, bacteria, sediments, waves, and boundary layers.
  • Learn how to obtain permits from regulatory bodies such as the state, Fish and Wildlife, Army Corps of Engineers, and more. Navigate the process of securing a lease and receive training in HACCP methods while developing your own HACCP plan.
  • Hone the skill of evaluating potential lease sites using tools like current meters, CTOs, video, and water samples, ensuring you find the optimal location for your farm.
  • Gain knowledge on retrofitting existing vessels or constructing custom vessels for mariculture operations, covering necessary machinery, basic hydraulic motors, and systems.
  • Enhance your earning potential through valuable credentials and hands-on experience or take the entrepreneurial route.
  • Experience the industry firsthand by visiting commercial operations and witnessing the processes in action.

Instructor – Carter Newell

Carter NewellCarter Newell, a seasoned professional with 40 years of experience in shellfish aquaculture, has dedicated his career to farming mussels and oysters. As a pioneer in Maine’s shellfish aquaculture industry, he holds a master’s degree in Oceanography from the University of Maine Darling Marine Center and a Ph.D. in marine biology from the University of New Brunswick. In his current role as President and Managing Member of Pemaquid Oyster Company and Pemaquid Mussel Farms, Carter oversees operations generating an impressive $1.5 million in annual sales.

Carter is a founding member of the Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center, actively contributing to the Aquaculture Research Institute (ARI) at UM, Maine Technology Institute, and Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development. Playing a key role in the successful $20 million NSF SEANET proposal, Carter supports aquaculture development in Alaska, aiding the first kelp hatchery and the Alaska Mariculture Development plan.

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