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Halibut, Cod Could Be Muscling In on Mussel Farm

US - A New Hampshire aquaculture company and a Sorrento fisherman are joining forces in an effort to learn how to raise cod and halibut in floating net pens.

Five years ago, the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) approved a 35.66-acre aquaculture lease for James West. The Sorrento fisherman planned to raise mussels using suspended rope culture on the site located south of Prebble Island near the head of Frenchman Bay.

In June, West and Great Bay Aquaculture LLC, of Portsmouth, N.H., applied to DMR for a three-year experimental aquaculture lease on just under 1.9 acres entirely contained within West’s existing lease site. The purpose of the lease, according to the DMR application, is to demonstrate the economic commercial viability of farming cod and halibut along the coast of Maine.

Great Bay has been in the fish farming business for nearly a dozen years. It began as a hatchery and nursery producing summer flounder to stock both commercial ocean pen sites and research facilities. The company began culturing juvenile cod in 1999 and now also raises juvenile black sea bass and cobia.

West is a lifelong fisherman descended from a long line of fishermen. He is well known both as a mussel dragger, and as a highly competitive lobster boat racer.

The proposal asks permission to moor four 70-meter (approximately 230 feet) circular net pens on the experimental lease site. The pens would be moored in two rows of two, in water about 80 feet deep. The pens would be situated about one-quarter of a mile off the shore of Prebble Island.

Source: TheEllsworthAmerican

Ellen Hardy

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