Mussel farmers to test drones against sea ducks

The P.E.I. Aquaculture Alliance will test drones later this month as a method of keeping sea ducks off their mussel socks.

Ducks are eating their mussels, say producers

Mussel farmers are hoping drones can drive away the ducks. (CBC/Shutterstock)

The P.E.I. Aquaculture Alliance will test drones later this month as a method of keeping sea ducks off their mussel socks.

Mussel growers have been complaining for years about the ducks helping themselves to cultured mussels, which are grown on long mesh socks hanging from buoys. In the past, they have tried to drive the ducks away with underwater speakers, kites, and bright, flashing LED systems.

"We're just testing to see whether drone technology can be used to deter the ducks from setting on to mussel socks," said Matt Sullivan, executive director of the Aquaculture Alliance.

"It's really just to try to chase them out of the area more or less in a safe way."

The pilot project will be in Covehead Bay and St. Mary's Bay from Nov. 23-27. A drone company has been hired to test different flight patterns.

Sullivan believes this will be the first project of its kind in the industry in Canada.

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