Evaluating aquaculture as a diversification strategy for Maine's commercial fishing sector in the face of change
Aquaculture represents an increasingly significant share of the global supply of freshwater and marine resources. The distribution of benefits from aquaculture development will largely depend on who has the resources necessary to participate in the sector and how the sector is governed. We investigate the extent to which aquaculture is being utilized by commercial fishermen to expand and diversify their livelihoods in Maine, USA. Here, a network approach is used to delineate individuals' participation in aquaculture and wild-capture fisheries. Results show that while some fishermen are starting aquaculture businesses, aquaculture has had a limited effect on livelihood diversification for those engaged in the commercial fishing sector to date. These findings raise questions about who will benefit from aquaculture and how the continued growth will compete with existing marine resource sectors, including wild-capture fisheries. We argue that the extent to which aquaculture can foster livelihood diversification in the long term and fit within existing coastal economies will largely depend on the institutions that are established to govern the sector.