Pier Redevelopment Project Considers Aquaculture Potential

The city of South Portland, Maine is actively assessing the best approach to upgrade the Portland Street Pier, with aquaculture as a main driver, the Press Herald reports.

The pier currently hosts a handful of boats belonging to lobster fishermen who lease dock slips from the city, and a dilapidated structure that needs repairs. But Maine’s aquaculture industry is booming, and nearby Casco Bay is no exception, providing a business development opportunity in the eyes of some city officials.

Within 10 miles of Portland Street Pier there are six state-licensed commercial aquaculture leases and 50 experimental or limited-purpose aquaculture sites. The idea is to provide these businesses with a local outlet for some of their sustainable seafood, right at the Portland Street Pier.

S Portland pier
Portland Street Pier in South Portland, ME (credit: Ben McCanna, Press Herald)

However, the city is looking to gauge interest before pouring funds into an upgrade. The pier would require dredging, the addition of floating dockage, and equipment for unloading and storing the marine produce. The city is working with Gulf of Maine Research Institute to create a redevelopment plan for the pier, and utilized a grant to conduct a site assessment and feasibility study. City Councilor Claude Morgan has no doubt there will be demand for an upgraded waterfront.

Revival of old ports has been successful in many cities around the world. One example comes from Copenhagen, where former industrial operations lining the harbor fell into disuse and disrepair. Over the past few decades the city has cleaned up the polluted waterways and a public/private corporate movement began to revitalize these waterfront areas. The harbor is now filled with kayak rentals, floating docks for swimmers, new apartments, and trendy eateries.

cph oyster farm
Concept for Harbour Farm 2.0 in Copenhagen (effekt.dk)

One such food spot in the making is a true farm-to-table experience: Harbour Farm 2.0 plans to grow oysters below their floating dock and serve patrons topside. The project is currently in development, but the renderings show how urban fish farming can present new opportunities.

It remains to be seen which approach South Portland will take to revitalize their pier and waterfront area.


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