AEI 5:235-248 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00108

A three-dimensional hydrodynamic model for aquaculture: a case study in the Bay of Fundy

Yongsheng Wu1,*, Jason Chaffey1, Brent Law2, David A. Greenberg1, Adam Drozdowski2, Fred Page3, Susan Haigh3

1Marine Ecosystem Section, Ocean and Ecosystem Sciences Division, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia B2Y 4A2, Canada
2Coastal Ecosystem Sciences Division, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia B2Y 4A2, Canada
3Coastal Ecosystem Sciences Division, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, St. Andrews Biological Station, St. Andrews, New Brunswick E5B 2L9, Canada
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Impacts of aquaculture on the local current field and the erosion of the bottom sediment in the Bay of Fundy, Canada, have been investigated with a 3-dimensional hydrodynamic model. The model is evaluated against independent observations of the current. Model results show that the presence of fish cages restricts water flow and reduces the velocity in the surface layer occupied by the cages, but enhances the water velocity in the bottom layer beneath the cages. Sensitivity studies show that the change in the flow velocity beneath the cages is sensitive to variations in the drag coefficient and the height of the fish cages. As the drag coefficient increases, the bottom velocity also increases until a steady state value is reached. For the cage height, however, the tidal speed beneath the cages first increases with cage height and then significantly decreases with further increasing height. The maximum increase in velocity occurs when the cage height is about half the local water depth (H/H0 = 0.5, where H is the cage height and H0 is the water depth). The increase in bottom velocity significantly speeds up the erosion of the bottom sediment. The model results also indicate that there is an optimal drag coefficient and an optimal cage height for a specific farm site. By utilizing the optimal drag coefficient and height, it is possible to speed up sediment erosion beneath the cages and, thus, decrease the environmental problems caused by accumulated fish farm waste.


KEY WORDS: Quadratic friction term · Fish farm · Sediment erosion · Finite-Volume Coastal Ocean Model · FVCOM


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Cite this article as: Wu Y, Chaffey J, Law B, Greenberg DA, Drozdowski A, Page F, Haigh S (2014) A three-dimensional hydrodynamic model for aquaculture: a case study in the Bay of Fundy. Aquacult Environ Interact 5:235-248. https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00108

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