Date of Award

Summer 8-18-2023

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Laura Rickard

Second Committee Member

Bridie McGreavy

Third Committee Member

Joshua Stoll


The global population is rising, and with it, demand for protein, particularly seafood. Aquaculture, the farming of aquatic species such as finfish, shellfish, and kelp, has been proposed as an alternative to wild-catch fisheries, of which 75% are overfished or at capacity. In Maine, aquaculture is growing, but often faces mixed community response when new or expanded projects are proposed. In the summer of 2020, a large-scale closed net-pen farm for Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) was proposed for Frenchman Bay, Maine. Community reaction was instantaneous and overwhelmingly negative. The strong, unified response from residents in the towns of Bar Harbor and Gouldsboro prompted questions regarding bay salience and values attached to the bay by community members. Using a grounded theory approach, semi-structured interviews were conducted with town managers, national park officials, and advocacy group members regarding their views on finfish aquaculture, their attachments to Frenchman Bay, and why they might support or reject the proposed salmon farm. Iterative coding of interview transcripts found emergent themes of scale, community character, aesthetic, historical, and recreation-based place attachments, and adjacent marine tensions including permitting and licensing processes, the shrinking of Maine’s wild-catch fishing industry, and the gentrification of coastal spaces. Further discussion of emergent themes and recommendations for community managers and industry members are included.