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Army Permit for Aquaculture Research

by Ellen Hardy
04 March 2008, at 12:00am

MASSACHUSETTS - A proposed aquaculture project near the Weepeket Islands in Buzzards Bay is seeking a permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers to allow biological investigations to be carried out in federal waters.

The work will be done by The Marine Biological Laboratory. The proposal is for the installation of a fish containment structure known as an “Aquadome” which will be positioned from the seafloor at a subtidal water depth of 35 feet. The seabed also provides part of the containment area. The installation will involve by floating the structure and towing it to the proposed mooring location and then lowering it into position.

Five 1,200-pound deadweight anchors will fix it to the site and anchor lines would be used to secure it. A lighted marker buoy would be secured to the top of the Aquadome to mark its location and to support a 4-inch diameter feed hose. Once installed, the Aquadome will raise hatchery-reared black sea bass from local broodstock, of which around 5,000 fish would then be tagged and released in waters near Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Once the research is completed the equipment would eventually be removed.

The Buzzards Bay project will impact approximately 80 square feet of Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for various species and life stages. This habitat consists of subtidal sand. Loss of this habitat may adversely affect these species. However, the Corps has made a preliminary determination that the site-specific adverse effect will not be substantial. Further consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service regarding EFH conservation recommendations is being conducted and will be concluded prior to the final permit decision.

Further consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service regarding essential fish habitat conservation recommendations is being conducted and will be concluded prior to the final permit decision.

Ellen Hardy