WATCH: “Closing the Circle with Eel Aquaculture in Maine: Bringing the supply chain and its benefits to our Maine coast”-talk by Sara Rademaker of American Unagi
Maine is in a unique position with its highly regulated and monitored glass eel fishery to distinguish itself in a notorious and often dark global eel supply chain. Glass eels are the singular resource that supply all eel aquaculture farms throughout the world and are one of most valuable fisheries per pound in the US. To date Maines glass eel fishery has only been supplying overseas aquaculture players and their supply chains. American Unagi is changing the narrative by establishing a domestic aquaculture industry for eels to be raised here on the Maine coast, creating transparency and domestic connection in the supply chain. By challenging the current system’s norms and encouraging the supply chain to begin and end in Maine, it is American Unagi’s hope to forge a way forward for supporting sustainable fisheries and exceptional aquaculture practices for many years to come.
Sara has a nearly 20-year aquaculture career earning a degree in Fisheries and Aquaculture from Auburn University. Aquaculture development quickly became the focal point of her career and upon graduation, she immediately dove in with Auburn’s US-AID aquaculture development in Uganda. Rademaker’s career has spanned aquaculture production, R&D, and education focusing on a variety of species ranging from microalgae to tilapia. Her work has taken her to multiple continents working on projects from large-scale production facilities to micro-aquaculture businesses operated by students. First connecting to Maine as an Americorps volunteer, it was only a matter of time before she was deeply entrenched in Maine’s aquaculture and fishing communities. Beginning in 2014, Rademaker pursued eel aquaculture and founded American Unagi, deploying years of aquaculture experience to grow a Maine based US business producing the highest quality fish for the US and global consumer while creating transparency in the supply chain.