South Portland gets grant to assess Ferry Village pier

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SOUTH PORTLAND — The city has received a $30,000 grant to create a master plan for the Portland Street Pier in Ferry Village.

The plan would examine whether to expand the pier for aquaculture and fishing industries. It would also look at ongoing capital maintenance needs.

Aquaculture is the cultivation of fish, seafood or plants in an environmentally controlled and sustainable setting, and can be land-based or ocean-based. 

The city-owned pier is off Front Street, between Sunset Marina and a Portland Pipe Line Corp. pier. It offers 15 boat slips for small commercial fishing vessels.

“This is excellent news,” City Manager Scott Morelli said in an Aug. 7 press release. “This will help the city to properly target its limited resources to ensure the pier is well maintained and adds as much value to the community and local economy as possible.”

The Shore and Harbor Planning Grant was awarded by the Maine Coastal Program of the Maine Department of Natural Resources.

The city will work with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute on the plan.

“Responsible development and integration of wild and farmed fisheries is crucial to Maine’s marine economy,” Chris Vonderweidt, aquaculture program manager for GMRI, said in the release. “We’re excited to support this investment in our local working waterfront.”

The City Council began discussing aquaculture at the pier during a workshop in July 2016, when councilors talked about the advantages and potential an aquaculture processing plant could bring not only to the city, but to the region.

However, on Feb. 20, the council voted not to pay for a feasibility study of the pier.

 Melanie Sochan can be reached at 781-3661 ext.106 or Follow her on Twitter @melaniesochan.