AEI 2:145-156 (2012)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00038

Salmon farm impacts on muddy-sediment megabenthic assemblages on the west coast of Scotland

Thomas A. Wilding*, Chris J. Cromey, Thom D. Nickell, David J. Hughes

Scottish Association for Marine Science, Scottish Marine Institute, Oban, Argyll PA37 1QA, UK

ABSTRACT: We assessed the impact of salmon farms on the megabenthos associated with muddy habitats using a novel drop-and-drift video camera approach. Megabenthic burrowers and suspension feeders were adversely affected by farm proximity, as indicated by modelled benthic flux of dry solids (DSFlux, g m−2 yr−1). The burrow-count threshold DSflux was 400, beyond which burrow density declined rapidly. Suspension feeder densities were reduced by a factor of 4 in close proximity (DSFlux > 8000 g m–2 yr–1) to the salmon farms, but only where the sediment was relatively muddy. In terms of suspension feeders, threshold levels of DSFlux varied between sites, ranging from 12 to 665 g m–2 yr–1. There was no evidence that vagile predator/scavengers were either attracted to, or repelled by, salmon farms. We conclude that burrowers and suspension feeders were relatively resilient to salmon farms in muddy, sea-loch habitats and that detectable im­pacts did not exceed 100 m from the cage boundary.


KEY WORDS: Megabenthos . Scotland . Salmon farming . DEPOMOD . Regulation . Video survey


Full text in pdf format 
Cite this article as: Wilding TA, Cromey CJ, Nickell TD, Hughes DJ (2012) Salmon farm impacts on muddy-sediment megabenthic assemblages on the west coast of Scotland. Aquacult Environ Interact 2:145-156. https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00038

Export citation
Mail this link - Contents Mailing Lists - RSS
- -