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Maritime scallop moves to the North


Specialists of the Institute of Maritime Biology, Far-Easernt Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, and Primorsky (Maritime) Production and Acclimatization Station of the Federal State Administration Primorrybvod suggest that maritime scallop should be acclimatized in low-populated waters of the Barents and White Seas. The new region suits in all respects for the Far-Eastern shellfish, which is able to feed both people and maritime inhabitants.

Northern waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are very similar in terms of living conditions, but Atlantic Ocean is far less inhabited. These are consequences of the quaternary glaciation, when arctic species could not live in freezing shallow water even in warm periods and irreversibly adapted themselves to living in sea depths. Vacant places remained nearby the coasts, which people fill in with the Pacific species. Russia has already acclimatized the king crab and salmon fish in these waters. The maritime scallop is one of the most promising maritime animal species for cultivation. Growing of scallop in the sea does not require feed, and its meat is very delicious and good for health (its consumption reduces the risk of atherosclerosis development). The Far-East Population has been eating maritime scallops since the Stone Age, but now these mollusca cost more than USD 10 per kilogram. Whitebait of scallop serves feed for crabs and fish.

Places for maritime scallop’s acclimatization should be chosen taking into account its likes. This mollusc likes cool salt water and rather strong streams, but it needs quiet places for spawning, so that the stream should not be carried away into the cold open ocean. The seabed should not be uliginous, otherwise the mollusc may be sucked in. Fine sand, that the waves raise easily and carry out to the coast together with scallops, does not fit either. The maritime scallop’s habitat should stay under water even during the low tide: the scallop would not endure staying in the air for more than an hour. The Russian specialists are sure there are sufficient locations in the Barents and White Seas to meet these requirements. The only thing the maritime mollusc will have to get used to is specific light mode of the extreme north. But the king crab has accommodated itself to the polar night, the scallop will also get accustomed to it, especially because the peak of its activity falls on nighttime.

The researchers expect the overseas guest to find sufficient plankton in the new location and would not suffer from competition with the local scallop (as it grows much quicker), or suffer from predators. As a hospitality gesture, seabed lots intended for immigrants can be cleaned from predatory starfish. According to the specialists’ plan, redundancy of young scallops will be eaten by the king crab, and then it will stop destroying cod whitebait. One of the undoubted advantages of the maritime scallop as an immigrant is a small number of parasitical species, which it can bring along. Therefore, appearance of a new species would not cause new problems, but would promote solution of existing ones.

The Far-Eastern researchers advise to remove to the Barents and White Sea the maritime scallop whitebait collected from water column. It is undesirable to remove adult mollusca, as they are less stable to transportation and parasites, besides they fill more place and it is more difficult to collect them. After the quarantine at the Murmansk Maritime Biological Institute, mollusca can be released into the sea for self-reproduction. Autumn and spring are most favorable for transportation when the composition and temperature of water in both oceans are most similar. The researchers have developed an optimal method for scallop’s transportation and further acclimatization. Everything is ready in theory, it is high time for practical actions.

Sergey Komarov | alfa
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