STONINGTON — Fisherman and aquaculturist Robert Brewer has applied for a 20-year lease to farm scallops, mussels and sugar kelp on 3.26 acres southwest of Andrews Island off Stonington in Penobscot Bay.
In 2017, Brewer applied for an experimental aquaculture lease in the area.
The draft application for a standard aquaculture lease was filed with the Maine Department of Marine Resources this past fall and a public scoping session was held virtually last week.
According to the application, Brewer proposes to grow up to 500,000 scallops at a time from wild spat and up to three tons each of sugar kelp and mussels from wild set.
The operation would use two suspended, 600-foot longlines holding 360 lantern nets and 500 spat bags. Ear hanging lines, a technique developed in Japan, would also be suspended from the longlines and used to grow out scallops. A hole is drilled in the scallop shell so that it can be tied to the submerged line. According to the application, Brewer also will be evaluating the longline for growing mussels. Sugar kelp that sets on the lines will be harvested from May to August.
The lantern nets will be stocked with wild scallop spat caught in the spat bags from July to September. The applicant anticipates two to three visits to the site per week. The site will be accessed by boat launched from the Stonington commercial fish pier.
No structures are proposed on site. Lines are kept at least 20 feet underwater at low tide to allow vessels to safely pass over. The area is not popular with local commercial fishermen, according to the application, because of soft mud on the bottom. The application requests commercial fishing be excluded within the boundaries of the site.
Brewer has been growing and selling scallops for three years and the site is already set up and stocked with scallops, according to the application.
The deadline for submitting written comments on the application is 5 p.m. on Jan. 5. All written comments will be forwarded to Brewer for consideration as he works on a final proposal. A copy of the draft lease application is available on DMR’s website at http://www.maine.gov/dmr/aquaculture/leases/draftstandardapps.html.