MOUNT DESERT — Local fisherman Victor Doyle has applied to the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) for a three-year experimental aquaculture lease for a one-acre site in Great Cove on the east side of Bartlett Island.
He plans to raise blue mussels, hard- and soft-shell clams, razor clams, American/Eastern and European oysters, sea scallops and green sea urchins. He told the Islander in an email that he plans to cultivate those species “to varying degrees pending seed availability and wild settlement success rates.”
Doyle wrote in his DMR lease application that he wants to assess “the economic viability of commercial aquaculture while testing the environmental suitability for each species grown in the requested lease area.”
He currently has three aquaculture lease sites near Bartlett Island, each of which is 400 square feet. He said that if his lease application for the new, one-acre site is approved, it would replace one of the existing sites.
As part of the state’s review of Doyle’s application, DMR biologists will visit and assess the proposed lease site. The 30-day period in which the public may submit comments or request a public hearing on the application ends April 15.
Doyle is chairman of the Mount Desert Shellfish Conservation Committee.
He described his aquaculture plans to the Mount Desert Board of Selectmen last week. The board’s approval is not required and no vote was taken, but selectmen expressed strong support for aquaculture projects.