Development of a modular submersible mussel raft for use in semi-exposed Maine waters subject to drift ice
Department of Agriculture
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Small Business Information
PEMAQUID MUSSEL FARMS, L.L.C.
7 CRK LN, Damariscotta, ME, 04543-4537
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractDespite a 40 year history of aquaculture production of edible marine mussels in the United States, domestic mussel farmers currently capture only about 10% of the fresh mussel market, valued at $40 million and growing. The growth of U.S. mussel raft culture, which is utilized to protect crops from avian predators, has been hampered by a lack of improved production technology in semi-exposed waters and in areas exposed to drift ice. Mussel rafts at these sites experience significant production losses from structural damage, drop-off from the culture ropes, reduced growth due to agitation during storms, and eider duck predation. While there are limited areas for expansion of the mussel raft industry in sheltered waters, at semi-exposed Maine embayments, where thousands of hectares are available for development, there is excellent water quality resulting in high mussel growth rates, high meat yields and good natural seed collection. What is needed is a new generation of mussel rafts for those sites which can allow for the expansion of the industry to satisfy market demand, improve food security, reduce the U.S. seafood trade deficit, while creating sustainable jobs in rural areas.
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