October 06, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King today announced that the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) has been awarded $749,815 to assist its Gulf of Maine Blue Economy Initiative, a program designed to boost competitiveness of the region’s seafood industry, create good-paying jobs, and accelerate economic growth. The funding was awarded through a U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) Build to Scale grant, which is designed to spur economic opportunity and private investments through added access to capital. This grant will build on the efforts of the SEAMaine marine economy action plan, an industry-led effort funded by the EDA last year with the support of Senators Collins and King.
“For generations, the success and sustainability of Maine’s coastal communities has been at the center of our prosperity as a state. When our ‘Blue Economy’ grows and thrives, so does Maine,” said Senators Collins and King. “Thanks to this new funding, the scientists and educators at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute will continue to do groundbreaking, innovative work that is expanding economic opportunity, creating good-paying jobs, and improving sustainability across Maine’s coastal communities. We welcome this funding from the Economic Development Administration, and look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on our Blue Economy.”
“Entrepreneurs in the Gulf of Maine are focused on driving innovation in sustainable aquaculture, modernizing wild fisheries, and driving climate adaptation. Their solutions are essential to expanding the region’s Blue Economy," said Blaine Grimes, Chief Ventures Officer at GMRI. "This award will help to propel the marine-related start-up sector, enhance global competitiveness of the Gulf of Maine seafood industry, and generate high quality sustainable jobs."
The Gulf of Maine Research Institute’s Blue Economy Initiative (BEI) seeks to create a sustainable Maine coastal economy using marine resources in the Gulf of Maine region. BEI provides the support and resources that start-ups and entrepreneurs need to be successful; enhancing business networks, improving services, and creating professional partnerships with investor capital and existing research institutions. The Blue Economy Initiative will increase the viability of Maine bluetech industries in partnership with the state’s seafood industry – ensuring the Gulf of Maine region can use its geography and resources to reach sustainability goals and expand economic success.
Senators Collins and King have long been proponents of ocean-based technological development in the region and supportive of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute’s work. The Senators previously announced a nearly $750,000 grant to GMRI in April that supported its Gulf of Maine Blue Innovation Recovery program to address harms to the industry from COVID-19 related shocks. Senators Collins and King have also supported funding to GMRI for its efforts to support climate change education, and explore climate impacts on fish populations.
GMRI is a Portland, Maine based nonprofit organization that researches the complex marine ecology of the Gulf of Maine and studies the many challenges of ocean stewardship and economic growth in the region. The institute provides students and teachers with science education resources and engages fishermen in collaborative research.