International graduate students join UNE students in Maine for intensive course on aquaculture

Students from five countries get ready to enjoy some Maine seafood during a break from a UNE NORTH course
Students from five countries get ready to enjoy some Maine seafood during a break from a UNE NORTH course

December 12, 2018

UNE Marine Technician Liz Johndrow holds a spool of Sugar kelp seedlings from the UNE seaweed nursery.
UNE Marine Technician Liz Johndrow holds a spool of Sugar kelp seedlings from the UNE seaweed nursery.

Graduate students from University of Gothenburg in Sweden and the University of New England gathered at UNE NORTH for a week-long intensive transdisciplinary course on sustainable marine aquaculture.

Kristina Snuttan Sundell, professor of biological and environmental sciences at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and Barry Costa-Pierce, executive director of UNE NORTH, developed the class, bringing students from Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada and the United States to UNE NORTH.

Course participant Liz Johndrow works as a Marine Technician at UNE conducting seaweed aquaculture research funded by the US Department of Energy. This important project, run by UNE NORTH in partnership with the US Naval Academy and Maine Marine Composites, assesses the performance of seaweed farms designed for offshore deployment in areas of high wave and current energy.

“Being able to interact with a diverse group of my peers, colleagues and pioneers in the industry sparked new networking connections that will be essential for me in future collaborations,” she stated.

Industry and academic partners generously shared their time, expertise and, in some cases, their farmed seafood with students.

“It was an opportunity to bring together so many emerging leaders,” said Costa-Pierce. “To me, this course exemplifies all of what I love about UNE.”

Erik Heim, president of Nordic Aquafarms of Norway, described the importance of community engagement and communication in the company’s plan to build the world’s largest land-based salmon aquaculture facility here in Maine.

David Langlet, professor of maritime law at the University of Gothenburg, described efforts by North Atlantic countries to engage in spatial marine planning, with economic and environmental sustainability in mind.

Students had the opportunity to visit several local businesses, including Bristol Seafood, Ready Seafood and Harbor Fish Market. They also toured both campuses of UNE and research facilities at UNE’s Marine Science Center.

“UNE NORTH would like to thank our many partners, advisory council members and the wonderful seafood businesses here in Portland who shared so much with our students and guests,” commented Costa-Pierce.

The course gave students the opportunity to experience the diversity of disciplines involved in aquaculture and why a transdisciplinary approach is crucial to sustainably growing enough seafood to feed a world facing the dire effects of climate change.

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