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Why did the duck eat the mussel? St. Joe's professor to use lasers to save mussels

by the Fish Site Editor
31 October 2006, at 12:00am

US - The Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center has awarded Dr. Mark Green, associate professor of marine science at Saint Josephs College, nearly $9,000 for a study on the use of submerged green-laser light to deter sea ducks from feeding on cultivated mussels.

Maine’s 13 mussel farms face losing up to hundreds of tons of mussels each year because of predation by sea ducks, primarily eider ducks.

Mussel growers often use a raft system to culture mussels, but even with huge nets draped from the raft to prevent predation, the growers can still suffer significant losses. If the green-laser light system works on the rafts, it is potentially less expensive, far easier to use and a much better deterrent to predation than the nets.

Green will construct and test a low-cost, submersible, green-laser light system in the Casco Bay Estuary, Gulf of Maine. Field studies will run periodically for a year beginning this winter.

The use of above-water, hand-held lasers has been shown to be a non-lethal and environmentally benign way of scaring away certain bird species. However, their use is labor intensive (people must shine the lasers at the mussel rafts during feeding hours).

The proposed submerged laser light system uses solar power and interfaces with timing devices, so it can be left for weeks at a time with light maintenance required every four to seven days.

Source: KeepMeCurrent

the Fish Site Editor