AUGUSTA — The state budget approved this summer has created several new positions at the Maine Department of Marine Resources, including jobs focused on offshore wind energy, whales, aquaculture and – for the first time – a scientist dedicated solely to shark research.
All are part of growing demands in the field, according to DMR officials.
Offshore wind development and right whales are two of the leading concerns for the region’s lobstermen. The state is working to build an offshore wind research project in southern Maine and new rules for trap fisheries are coming down from federal officials in response to dwindling numbers of North Atlantic right whales. Aquaculture is a burgeoning industry in Maine’s working waterfront and has been demanding more and more of the department’s attention as applications for projects up and down the coast have been coming in. Sharks have started to become a more common sight in the gulf. A woman died in southern Maine after she was bitten by a shark in 2020.
These eight new jobs will help beef up the DMR’s capacity in these emerging issues, according to the agency spokesman.
“Those are areas of need in the department,” said Jeff Nichols.
The new positions include a public service coordinator focusing on offshore wind and whales, a marine resource scientist focusing on whales, two marine resource scientists focused on offshore wind and a marine resource scientist focused on sharks. There will also be a new public service manager, coordinator and a part-time paralegal, all of whom will be dedicated to aquaculture.
The salaries for the new roles range from $39,055 for the paralegal to $118,259 for one of the scientists studying offshore wind.