Friendship International was a major exporter of green sea urchins harvested in Maine. When the fishery declined in the late 1990's, they looked for other sources of business and sea urchins. The company's owner Jim Wadsworth came to the CCAR in 2003 for assistance with the development of sea urchin aquaculture as an alternative source of product. We have helped them secure funding from the MTI (Seed Grant) and the USDA (SBIR Phase 1) for work on sea urchin aquaculture. We have installed a purpose built sea urchin hatchery and a broodstock holding system using MAIC and USDA funding. We have had major successes with the rearing of sea urchins in our hatchery facility and with preliminary work growing juvenile sea urchins out at sea in mesh cages. Working with Larry Harris at the University of New Hampshire and using funding from the USDA Northern Regional Aquaculture Center (NRAC) and the NOAA SK Program we are currently investigating a number of growout strategies for the green sea urchin.
In the photo are (left to right), Jim Wadsworth (Friendship International), Nicole Kirchhoff (graduate student), Ryan Hastey (CCAR), Brad Scott and Adam Scott (urchin fishermen) and Steve Eddy (CCAR Biologist)