Assessment of Nursery Gear Technology to Optimize Growth, Survival and Economic Efficiency in Farming Atlantic Sea Scallops

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2021: $15,000.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2022
Grant Recipient: Pemaquid Oyster Co., Inc.
Region: Northeast
State: Maine
Project Leader:
Dr. Christopher Davis
Pemaquid Oyster Co., Inc.

Information Products


  • Animals: shellfish


  • Animal Production: aquaculture

    Proposal summary:

    There is clear interest in sea scallop aquaculture in Maine where there is a long standing economic and cultural tradition of scallop fishing and ideal environmental conditions for sea scallop culture. This feasibility study will inform the development of an innovative production strategy for sea scallops, and ultimately will inform development of new aquaculture businesses in Maine. Currently, there are about 27 Maine business entities with sea scallops as an approved species on an aquaculture lease/license and Maine’s scallop harvest has the potential to grow three fold over the next 10-15 years. With the data gained from the proposed study we aim to assess culture technologies for nursery stages of sea scallop aquaculture. This has the potential to optimize growth rates and survival of sea scallops, and provide us with the information necessary to enable sea-farmers in Maine to take advantage of the economic growth promised by sea scallop aquaculture.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    This project seeks to assess five different nursery gear technologies to optimize growth, survival and economic efficiency in farming Atlantic Sea Scallops, Placopecten magellanicus.

    The technologies to be tested include two types of floating gear (flip farm and nursery floating bags), two suspended types of gear (suspended lantern nets and dark sea trays), and one type of bottom gear (bottom cages). 

    The test farm sites are: 

    Site 1: The DMC/USDA Lease site at Lowes Cove, Walpole, ME

    Site 2: Pemetic Sea Farms Newbury Neck site in Union River Bay, Surry, ME

    The Project Objectives are:

    1. To compare growth rates
    2. To compare survival rates 
    3. To compare the economics of using the different gear types (the capital costs; the labor involved in deployment, maintenance etc). 

    If successful, the results of this project will be valuable to farmers looking to enter the sea scallop sector, especially existing aquaculture operations (those looking to diversify income) and fishermen who rely on the competitive wild-caught market.  The results of this project will provide new and existing scallop farmers information on the costs vs benefits associated with different gear types, and the comparative growth and survival rates of scallops reared in different gear types. 

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.