This report assesses the potential biological impacts on certain protected species of
the deployment of a longline for growing blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) in Rhode Island
Sound. The proposed project is a scientific research experiment designed to test the
feasibility of offshore aquaculture from engineering, biological, and economic perspectives.
The proposed project is small in scale, limited in duration, and located in an area of the ocean
that is known to be only a minor, nonessential habitat for the protected species of concern.
Of crucial significance to the relevant protected species and to the project, the project's
geographic location is not believed to be critical habitat in even the broadest sense of the
term. The project does not involve feeding mussels or treating the mussels with any type of
pharmaceuticals. The project relies upon a set of spat from naturally occurring stocks in the
region. As a result, the project principal investigators believe that the potential for adverse
effects on individuals or stocks of protected species or on their environment is extremely