Scale Modeling of a Submersible Mussel Raft

Fisherman Babe Stanley and his son Shain have been working on a novel piece of equipment, a submersible mussel raft, to pursue their interests in growing mussels in Downeast Maine. Extension Associate Dana Morse helped by obtaining funding from Maine Sea Grant to do some scale modeling of the proposed system. John Riley of the University of Maine directed the modeling work, which was performed in conjunction with Roger Fleming of the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), who represents several residents of the Sullivan area.

When Stanley originally applied for his shellfish lease for mussels and scallops, there was strong opposition to the plan because the proposed site was in the middle of a popular and well-used regatta route. As the opposing parties talked about the problem, the topic of a submerged raft arose, and it seemed to be an acceptable solution to all. With the technology being completely new and untested, scale modeling seemed to be a wise option, and such tests were eventually conducted at the Tow Tank Facility at the University of Maine.

The tests proved to be promising and were witnessed, at times, by engineers, fishermen, aquaculturists, staff from Maine Department of Marine Resources and CLF, equipment suppliers, and others. The collaboration between industry, scientists, and area residents appears to be continuing, as funding for a half-scale field trial is being sought, and supported, by all parties.

For more information, contact Dana Morse.