Sara Rademaker, founder and owner of American Unagi, shows off eels grown at her facility from glass eels, or elvers, harvested in Maine. PHOTO COURTESY OF NEH LIBRARY

Eel entrepreneur to speak at library

MOUNT DESERT — Sara Rademaker will speak about growing eels Wednesday, Sept. 11 at 5:30 p.m. at the Northeast Harbor Library.

Radamaker is the founder and owner of American Unagi, an eel aquaculture business.

Rademaker has 15 years of farming and aquaculture experience. A graduate of Auburn University in Alabama, she’s worked with subsistence farmers in Uganda as part of a U.S. AID project and farmed tilapia in Ghana. She’s taught middle school students how to farm tilapia and lettuces.

A few years ago, she began studying European and Asian systems for growing elvers into eels in contained areas.

“In seeing Maine’s glass eels shipped abroad and eel products of questionable origin and quality returning, she saw an opportunity to do things better,” a statement on the company’s website says, “by raising eels locally.”

“In developing eel aquaculture in Maine, American Unagi is strengthening and diversifying the economies of our coastal communities and providing a higher quality, safer product for US consumers.”

With just a handful of eels in her basement, she officially started the business in 2014. Expanding to a pilot facility at the Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center one year later, Rademaker demonstrated that eels can be grown locally and that “traceability” mattered to consumers.

The talk is free and open to the public. Contact 276-3333.

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