Developing a cost effective method to raise the Banded Sunfish in underutilized or seasonally "fallow" cranberry bogs.
In 1995, prompted by pressure to find additional, biologically effective, methods of controlling mosquito populations on Cape Cod, the Cape Cod Mosquito Control Project (CCMCP) initiated an experimental program to evaluate using the Banded Sunfish as a biological control agent. The Banded Sunfish is a voracious predator of mosquito larvae and, unlike many species of non-native fish used to control mosquito larvae, the Banded Sunfish is indigenous and presents no risk of displacing native species.
This project would involve developing and evaluating the economical feasibility of using existing cranberry bogs to rear the Banded Sunfish, Ennecantus obesus. Techniques for hatching and rearing larval Banded Sunfish have been developed on an experimental scale. However, very little is known about how to raise these fish in sufficient quantities and under specific conditions to meet the growing demand for them as both ornamental aquarium fish and for use as a method of controlling mosquito larvae. One of the unique features of this species, in addition to being indigenous to southeastern Massachusetts, is their strong affinity to the warm, shallow, and often acid waters associated with cranberry bogs. This project aims to identify a means of rearing this potentially valuable species within underutilized or seasonally fallow cranberry bogs.