UNH Open Ocean Aquaculture Project Explores Fish Farming in the
Gulf of Maine
Contact: Dolores Leonard
CICEET and CINEMAR
June 15, 2005
DURHAM, N.H. -- The national debate over fish farming in the open
ocean heated up last week when the Bush Administration introduced
a national offshore aquaculture bill to Congress. The proposed legislation
would grant the Secretary of Commerce authority to issue permits
for marine aquaculture operations in federal waters, from three
to 200 miles off the coasts of the United States. The bill’s
proponents cite the growing consumer demand for fish and the inability
of wild fisheries to meet this demand, while critics voice concern
that fish farms can be a source of pollution.
The University of New Hampshire’s Open Ocean Aquaculture Demonstration
Project is exploring the environmental soundness, technological
feasibility, and economic viability of farming finfish and shellfish
in the Gulf of Maine. Founded in 1998, with support from Senator
Judd Gregg (R-NH) and in partnership with the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration, this interdisciplinary project combines
innovative engineering design, progressive fish husbandry techniques,
advanced communications technology, rigorous environmental assessment
and extensive community outreach.
Six miles off the New Hampshire coast, project researchers are raising
blue mussels and native finfish species such as halibut, cod, and
haddock in the extreme, high-energy environment of the North Atlantic.
To date, the project’s environmental monitoring program has
detected no measurable effect on the surrounding ecosystems.
The project’s first technology transfer took place this spring,
when mussel lines licensed to the Yankee and Portsmouth fishermen’s
cooperatives were seeded for commercial harvest. Spring 2004 marked
the project’s first pilot finfish harvest of Atlantic halibut.
Researchers will harvest pilot crops of cod and haddock this summer.
Richard Langan, director of the Open Ocean Aquaculture Demonstration
Project, is available for comment on the state of current research
in offshore aquaculture technology. To reach him for comment, please
send an email to email@example.com.
Or, contact Dolores Leonard, the project’s public relations
specialist, at (603) 862-3685.
Rollie Barnaby, an outreach educator with UNH Cooperative Extension
and New Hampshire Sea Grant, also is available to discuss the mussel
technology transfer to New Hampshire fishermen. To reach him for
comment, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
UNH’s Open Ocean Aquaculture project is part of CINEMAR, the
Cooperative Institute for New England Mariculture and Fisheries.
A joint institute between UNH and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA), CINEMAR provides regional leadership and
integration for research, development, education, and outreach to
support the use, management, and preservation of New England fisheries.