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Cape mussel farmer hopes to start pioneer project

October 8, 2013

CHATHAM, Mass. (AP) — Nantucket Sound may soon host the nation’s first offshore aquaculture project in federal waters.

The Cape Cod Times reports (http://bit.ly/1afVIYy) that Chatham shellfisherman Domenic Santoro has proposed the 30-acre mussel farm in the sound, and hopes it gets permitted this fall.

Advocates say a reliable farmed supply could make real market inroads. They say that’s because the U.S. imports more than 90 percent of its mussels and the wild domestic supply fluctuates wildly, due to weather and other factors.

But they also say the offshore permitting process has been stalled by bureaucracy and the lack of a clear path to a federal lease. Bill Silkes of American Mussel Harvesters says the government should make the permitting process more logical and timely and needs to start seeing mussel farming as an opportunity to create jobs.

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