Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture in the Gulf of Maine

Muscles and seaweed in Aquafort


Please join the University of New Hampshire for a 10-part learning series on integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) approaches in the Gulf of Maine.

Spring Series Format

Each 1-hour session was presented via Zoom (virtual/online). Expert speakers discussed different aspects of IMTA farming – from site permitting to harvest of seafood products to the economics of the business. Q&A encouraged.



March 22 Introduction to the learning module series and overview of IMTA
March 24

Permitting in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine

March 29

Site selection and interfacing with local community and fisherman

March 31 System design, construction, and deployment
April 5 Trout transfer, stocking, and feeding
April 7 Mussel and kelp aquaculture
April 12 IMTA System maintenance and environmental monitoring
April 14 Harvest and processing of trout, kelp, and mussels
April 19 Marketing and sales of IMTA products
April 21 IMTA economics and next steps

Cheyenne Adams
Marine Resource Scientist
Maine Department of Marine Resources
Robert Atwood
Marine Biologist
NH Fish and Game
Erich Berghahn
Aquaculture Project Manager
New Hampshire Sea Grant
Ward Byrne
F/V Sugar Daddy
Lobster Fishermen
Michael Chambers
Research Associate Professor
School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering
Mike Doherty
Research Assistant
School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering
Chris Duffy
Business Advisory
Regional Economic Development Center
Gunnar Ek
Ocean Entrepreneur
Pete Flannigan
Vice President
Isle Shoals Mariculture
Arron Jones
Aquaculture Specialist
Rick Kristoff
Environmental Scientist
United States Army Corps of Engineers
Chrissy Petipas
Massachusetts Department of Marine Resources
Richard Pettigrew
Seaport Fish              
Inga Potter
Research SCientist and Co-Founder
Cold Current Kelp
Jeremy Sewall
Row 34        
Corey Sullivan
Ocean Engineer
Thew Suskiewicz, Ph.D.
Cultivation Manager & Head of Scientific Research
Atlantic Sea Farms

Stay tuned for future learning opportunities.

More about IMTA

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have been developing integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) approaches for steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), blue mussels (Mytilus edulis), and sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima) on a nearshore, floating platform since 2010. In this aquaculture system, the shellfish and seaweed species are suspended around the fish nets, which hang from the inside of the floating platform structure. Shellfish and seaweed bio-extract nutrients generated from the fish to reduce Nitrogen and Phosphorus input to the surrounding marine environment. The additional species provides extra income to the farmer and better utilizes the entire culture space.

In 2018, NOAA’s National Sea Grant Office awarded UNH research funds to further develop the IMTA system into what we now call the AquaFort. This uniquely engineered system is robust and can withstand 4 m (13 ft) waves, strong currents, and culture the three species together in a semi-protected site. Recent research results suggest a winter grow-out of the steelhead trout from 150g to 2kg can be obtained in 9 months with survival rates of 87% and a feed conversion ratio (FCR) of 1.2:1. Economics of the system are underway and will be shared with fishing/aquaculture industry members, students, and entrepreneurs that may have interest in this new technology.

Funding Acknowledgement

Funding for the AquaFort research project was awarded to New Hampshire Sea Grant (PI: Michael Chambers, Ph.D.) through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s National Sea Grant Office as part of the 2018 Aquaculture Research Awards.