Projects at Cat Cove Marine Lab

Blue mussels on culture line

Longline Blue Mussel Culture

NOAA Fisheries contracted with researchers at the Salem State University’s Northeastern Massachusetts Aquaculture Center (NEMAC) to support a demonstration mussel farm in federal waters off the coast of Massachusetts. We obtained a permit to establishing a commercial scale (33 acre) offshore mussel farm 8.5 miles off the coast of Cape Ann Massachusetts in January. Our primary objective is to investigate offshore mussel culture as an alternative fishing option for fishermen and lobstermen currently displaced or negatively impacted by current fishery restrictions.   more > 


Establishing an Aquaponics Cooperative on the North Shore of Massachusetts

Salem State fish biologist, Joe Buttner is providing his expert consultation in fish aquavulture to Develop a North Shore Aquaponics Cooperative and Training Program which will develop, demonstrate and transfer culture techniques appropriate for New England. This program has received funding from the MA Department of Agricultural Resources.


 Establish a formal aquaponics cooperative that marriages the aquaponics interests and competence of aspiring and practicing aquaculturists on Massachusetts North Shore.
 Document what is needed to establish a sustainable aquaponics cooperative and make that information broadly available.


 Complete construction of a greenhouse with all necessary infrastructure improvements on a farm located in Beverly, MA.
 Design and build a recirculating aquaculture system with grow beds for plants.
 Obtain permits necessary to grow fish (largemouth bass) at the farm in Beverly, MA.
 Establish an aquaponics cooperative (“incorporate”) for residents located in the North Shore.
 Establish agreements with markets (upscale restaurants, gourmet food stores).
 Document and disseminate the process so other similar cooperatives can be developed elsewhere.

Soft Shell Clam Culture

Most of NEMAC’s effort at the Cat Cove Marine Laborotory focuses on the spawning and rearing of softshell clams (Mya arenaia) to 2-15 mm shell length (SL). Over 3 million clams are produced each year and distributed to communities in Massachusetts to enhance the fishery. more >

Hubline Clam Flat Restoration Project

Collaborative efforts between NEMAC and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) to restore and enhance softshell clams in Boston Harbor continue. Since 2006, over 2.5 million clams have been spawned and grown to a suitable size (preferably > 10 mm Shell Length) at the Cat Cove Marine Laboratory for seeding at selected sites approved by DMF personnel and Town officials in Hingham, Hull, Quincy, Weymouth, and Winthrop

Dive Beach Nahant Vertical Rock Surface 1983 - 2008

Long-term Ecological Monitoring of Rocky Subtidal Substrates in Massachusetts Bay

Since 1977, Ken Sebens at the University of Washington, Friday Harbor Laboratories has continued to monitor the rocky subtidal community at five sites in Massachusetts Bay with assistance from Ted Maney of Salem State University. Two sites are at Halfway Rock outside Salem Sound and three sites are off East Point, Nahant.    

Measuring Eel Grass

Eelgrass Meadow Monitoring at Juniper Point Beach, Salem MA

Ted Maney and Salem State students have established a monitoring program of an eelgrass meadow off Juniper Point Beach in Salem. This meadow was not listed on the MassDEP Eelgrass Mapping Project of state eel grass meadows so the area was tracked using GPS and the track coordinates were submitted to MA DEP for inclusion in their next database update for MassGIS. In addition, these students a monitoring program was established in consultation with Phil Colarusso at the EPA and the Juniper Point eelgrass meadow will now be included in a latitudinal study of eel grass meadows from Atlantic Canada to FL. The plan is to conduct annual surveys as part of the BIO 344 course or with students involved in directed studies. Eel grass meadows are essential fish habitats that serve as nursery areas for many fish and invertebrates and are subject to negative impacts of urbanization.
Fouling Plate at Hawthorne Cove Marina

Ocean and Coastal Monitoring in Salem Sound

The marine fouling community is monitored for marine invasive species on a quarterly basis by researchers and students at Salem State University. Additionally water quality and climate data are routinely collected at Cat Cove.  more>