Maine’s nascent scallop aquaculture industry will receive a boost through technology transfer funds from the USDA’s Northeast Sustainable Agriculture, Research and Education program. The project focuses on the Japanese technique of ‘ear-hanging’ scallops in Maine’s coastal waters.
Ear-hanging refers to the practice of drilling a small hole in the hinge (or ‘ear’) of a scallop, and inserting specialized pins that attach the scallop to rope lines in the water. The scallops hang from the lines for one to two years, and grow rapidly. Early data indicate that our species of sea scallop, Placopecten magellanicus, fares well using this method, and this project will investigate the technique on a broader scale.
Two other elements of scallop aquaculture are being investigated through this project. First, we will evaluate the cost-effectiveness of alternative materials to collect seed larvae or “spat” from the water column. The existing settlement material is effective but expensive, and the project will evaluate other options. Second, we hope to generate preliminary data on production costs (labor and equipment) and benefits (yield and value). This information will be useful to producers as they make decisions on whether the method is right for them, and whether or not to invest in the materials and equipment to undertake full-scale operation.
Collaborating producers include: Brendan Atwood (Maine Mariculture Company LLC), Mark Green (Basket Island Oyster Company), Matt Moretti (Bangs Island Mussels), Nate Perry (Pine Point Oyster Company LLC), and Peter Stocks (Calendar Island Mussels). An additional site at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center is also planned, as is a parallel collaboration with Seth Barker and Peter Fischer of Maine Fresh Sea Farms. Other partners include Hugh Cowperthwaite of Coastal Enterprises, Inc., and Chris Davis of the Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center. The project is led by Dana Morse, a member of the Marine Extension Team, which itself is a collaboration between Maine Sea Grant and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and benefits from a generous gift of pre-pinned lines, courtesy of Mr. Hiroaki Sugiyama, founder and owner of Mutsu Kaden Tokki Co., LTD.
UPDATE: June 11, 2016
The Maine Mariculture Company is now seeded with over 800 scallops! A dozen lines were set out on the site, near Pleasant Island in southwestern Penobscot Bay. Through this scientific experiment, we are attempting to find the best combination of minimum shell size and pin position; whether on the left ear or the right, and drilling through just one valve (shell) vs. drilling through both valves. These scallops will be checked quarterly over the next year, and examined for growth, mortality, type and degree of biofouling, and general observations on their progress. Congratulations to Brendan, Genevieve and Ryan Atwood - Maine’s latest scallop farmers.
|Above: Scallops read for drilling|| Above: Assembly line - (L to R)
Brendan, Ryan and
|Above: pinned line ready for deployment||
Above: the crew with pinned line.
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