It was estimated in 2019 that 80 percent of all of Maine’s aquaculture licenses were held by men, according to Afton Hupper, an outreach and development specialist at the Maine Aquaculture Association. The industry has been growing slowly in the state since the 1800s and at its peak in 2019 the harvest was valued at $88 million, according to Maine’s Department of Marine Resources. Throughout this time, aquaculture in Maine has seen many changes, but some of the women are calling for change in representation on the waterfront.
This is not only a problem in Maine. Worldwide, 14 percent of the nearly 60 million people who work in fisheries and aquaculture are women, according to a 2018 report from the Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations. Some women in Maine are trying to overcome these issues by speaking out or starting companies such as the Lady Shuckers and Minorities in Aquaculture.