The head of the Maine Aquaculture Association has been named to a federal marine advisory panel.

Sebatian Belle, executive director of the aquaculture trade association, has been appointed to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee. As a member of the advisory committee, Belle will advise the Secretary of Commerce and NOAA on issues related to living marine resources that fall under the purview of the Department of Commerce, according to a joint release from U.S. Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins announcing the apointment.

“Sebastian has established himself as a national leader in the aquaculture industry, and his expertise will help guide the Department of Commerce and NOAA as they shape important policy relating to our marine resources,” said the senators in the statement. “Sebastian brings with him a deep understanding of Maine’s diverse marine ecosystem that supports our state’s coastal communities, creates and sustains jobs, and helps drive the economy.”

Belle was formerly a lobsterman and state aquaculture coodinator. He helped found TAAG, which specializes in aquaculture investment and consulting, and is also the president of Econ-Aqua, a consultancy that focuses on farm management, financial due diligence, and risk and analysis control.

He previously worked as project manager of the Bluefin Tuna Project at the New England Aquarium in Boston and as operations manager for Connors Aquaculture Inc. in Eastport, one of the largest Atlantic salmon farms in the United States.

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