U.S. study of steelhead trout aquaculture could open door for small farms in Maine
By Undercurrent News Oct. 15, 2018
An experiment by the US' University of New Hampshire in small-scale integrated multi-tropic aquaculture could lead to steelhead trout aquaculture farms off the coast of Maine, the Portland Press Herald Reports.
Rainbow Trout, also known as Steelhead. Illustration J.O. Pennanen/ASF
As part of the project, which has been ongoing since 2014 with help from the US Sea Grant program, researchers have been hatching and raising trout to 10 inches in length in freshwater farms and then transferring them to net pens, about a mile offshore. The fish are grown to a harvestable 5-pound size in about seven months in the warmer coastal waters.
Mussels and kelp, grown in the vicinity of the net pens, are feeding on the nitrogen the fish excrete as waste, mitigating any possible negative environmental effects.
The researchers are using low-tech systems made from PVC pipes, pressure-treated wood and nylon netting that can be easily replicated by local fishermen looking to diversify their income, the article suggests. One system could yield 20,000 pounds of fish per season with a market value of about $7 per pound, New Hampshire Sea Grant research scientist Michael Chambers is quoted as saying.
Maine’s coastline offers many feasible spots to set up steelhead trout farms, Chambers said.
The University of Maine recently conducted a three-year study with Cooke Aquaculture to test whether mussels could grow alongside Atlantic salmon, the article notes.