U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced Friday that the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay is set to receive a total of $878,514 to conduct research on a new simple, low-cost method of detecting harmful toxins in mussels. This funding, of which $164,078 is slated for fiscal year 2020, was awarded through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Center for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS).
“Maintaining the health of shellfish aquaculture is essential to Maine’s working waterfront, as well as the global ecosystem,” said Collins and King in a joint statement. “This project will allow the skilled scientists at Bigelow Laboratory to research a three-in-one test for harmful toxins that are accumulating in mussels, helping to protect Maine’s mussel-growing industry and ensure that people across the nation can continue to enjoy this ocean delicacy.”
Shellfish aquaculture is a large and growing industry, with national sales exceeding $260 million annually and expected to rise, given its economic and environmental benefits, as well as increased customer demand.