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Hearings Planned for Mussel Farm Scheme

US - Plans are being put forward for a four new aquaculture zones in Martha's Vineyard in New Hampshire.

The Martha's Vineyard Shellfish Group (MVSG) is working with the towns of West Tisbury, Chilmark, and Aquinnah to create the zones designed to raise mussels using an innovative open ocean system developed by researchers at the University of New Hampshire's Atlantic Marine Aquaculture Center and Open Ocean Aquaculture Program, according to The Matha's Vineyard Times.

Next Tuesday there will be a public hearing in Chilmark on a proposal to create two offshore aquaculture zones, a 10-acre site in the waters north of Nomans Land and another covering 15 acres in Vineyard Sound off Cape Higgon.

West Tisbury will hold a hearing on Wednesday for a 25-acre site off Lamberts Cove. Aquinnah will hold a hearing sometime this month for a 25-acre zone located near the Chilmark site off Nomans, the newspaper says.

Rick Karney, MVSG director told the paper that initial experiments in Vineyard waters have been promising in terms of mussel survival and growth rates. He said the shellfish group expects to receive funding to set up two full demonstration farms next year based on the New Hampshire model. It has also received $5,000 and assistance from the Permanent Endowment Fund for Martha's Vineyard to help with the permitting.

Mr. Karney said the plan is to set up two working farms with assistance from Richard Langan, director of the Atlantic Marine Aquaculture Center and Open Ocean Aquaculture Program. Island fishermen would work the farms, providing information on conditions and hopefully a commercial product that would then be sold. Ultimately the farms would be turned over to the fishermen.

View the Martha's Vineyard Times story by clicking here.