"Intensive Commercial Rainbow Smelt Culture"
Commercial wild harvest of rainbow smelt populations is the principal source for supplying both the live bait and human consumption markets for this species. Unfortunately, populations of smelt have been in decline in the Northeast for decades and in 2004, NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service listed rainbow smelt as a species of concern in the Gulf of Maine. It is inevitable that commercial and recreational smelt harvesting will be further restricted or halted as wild populations continue to diminish. Opportunities for developing cultured rainbow smelt to supplement and eventually replace wild harvest are increasing. The only obstruction has been developing husbandry methods and processes for this species. Our 2006 Phase I research project proved the feasibility and methods required for extensive (pond) culture. Our Phase II project will capitalize on those discoveries and develop intensive culture methods for indoor grow-out in recirculation systems. The commercialization plan included in this Phase II project will integrate intensive and extensive methods and present a cohesive training and support program for future smelt growers. Our ultimate goal is to shift reliance upon a stressed wild population and eventually provide market needs with a farmed aquaculture animal.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Harmon Brook Farm (Maine Smelt Hatchery)
P.O. Box 373 Canaan, ME 04924
Number of Employees: