Developing Hatchery Methods to Consistently Produce Sea Scallops to Promote Scallop Aquaculture: Husbandry, broodstock, and nursery trials

Lead PI: Dr. Brian Beal

PI Email:

Co-PI: Kyle Pepperman

Project Team: Dr. Brian Beal, Downeast Institute; Kyle Pepperman, Downeast Institute; Alex de Koning, Hollander & de Koning Mussel Farm; Sara Randall, Downeast Institute

Abstract: A major bottleneck exists in the development of a sea scallop aquaculture industry. Currently, the only supply of scallop spat available is from the wild. Farmers who wish to grow scallops must collect scallop juveniles using a technology that depends on the vagaries of zooplankton population dynamics. Net “spat” bags are cast into the ocean and left for several months. Once retrieved, the material in the bag is removed, sorted, and spat is moved to farms to begin the nursery growth phase. Bags can become lost, or contain few, if any, scallops. Success in a particular location can vary greatly from year to year. Without a consistent, reliable source of seed, the future of sea scallop farming is constrained, and will remain uncertain at best. The goal is to create a consistent supply of hatchery-reared sea scallop seed (spat). The project will leverage academic and industry expertise through the new Scallop Research Consortium to develop scallop spat production methods that can be scaled to produce commercial quantities to support a sustainable farming sector. This will result in a more resilient shellfish industry, both by diversifying shellfish species farming options as well as potentially contributing to the health of wild populations by using hatchery seed for stock enhancement. The project team plans to examine and evaluate spawning success of multiple groups of broodstock, scallop larval husbandry methods, and nursery trials of set larvae.

Project Dates: January 2022 – June 2023

Project Funding: Maine Aquaculture HUB