BOSTON (CN) – A consumer group demands that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers be enjoined from conducting a Pavlovian experiment on black sea bass. The Marine Biological Laboratory is conditioning 6,500 bass in an underwater cage in Buzzards Bay to swim toward a tone to be fed. After the fish are released, the tone will be played again, later, to see if the trained fish can be caught like that in the wild.
If successful, the experiment could lead to a new, cheaper form of aquaculture. If the baby fish can be sufficiently conditioned to respond to the tone, they could be released to grow up in the wild, then caught as adults.
Plaintiff Food & Water Watch claims the project is in a critical habitat for many important species that are not part of the experiment, including cod, haddock, flounder, herring, squid, mackerel and tuna.
Plaintiff claims the experiment’s effects on wild fish in Buzzards Bay are “highly uncertain,” and pose “unknown risks.” It claims that permits for the experiment were issued after inadequate environmental review.
The Army Corps issued permits for the “Aquadome” experiment to the Marine Biological Laboratory on May 28. Plaintiff wants the experiment stopped until the Army Corps really complies with environmental laws.