AEI 6:29-42 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00116

Size, settling velocity and density of small suspended particles at an active salmon aquaculture site

B. A. Law1,2,*, P. S. Hill2, I. Maier2, T. G. Milligan1, F. Page3

1Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia B2Y 4A2, Canada
2Department of Oceanography, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4J1, Canada
3Fisheries and Oceans Canada, St. Andrews Biological Station, St. Andrews, New Brunswick E5B 2L9, Canada
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Scientific understanding of aquaculture interactions with the environment is limited, especially concerning the far-field transport and possible impacts of particulate wastes. A pilot study was carried out in southwest New Brunswick, Canada, in November 2008 to determine the size, settling velocity, and density of suspended particles at an active salmon aquaculture cage site. The model of Khelifa & Hill (2006) was fit to size-versus-settling velocity data to estimate the fractal dimension of flocs and the density of the component particles within flocs. Flocs had a larger fractal dimension and smaller component-particle density than in other studies, suggesting that particles from the aquaculture operation may be incorporated into suspended flocs with average settling velocities of 1 mm s-1. Variability in particle size and packaging was interpreted in the context of near bed velocity, tidal stage, and wind speed and direction. This analysis indicated that advection dominated observed variations in particle size and packaging. Indicators of resuspension, aggregation, disaggregation, and deposition were not detected in the time series. Advection of flocs away from the study site provides a mechanism to transport wastes over distances greater than 1 km prior to deposition; thus a settling class of 1 mm s-1 should be considered in depositional models of aquaculture wastes.


KEY WORDS: Aquaculture · Flocs · Particle size · Size-versus-settling velocity · Effective density · Waste transport


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Cite this article as: Law BA, Hill PS, Maier I, Milligan TG, Page F (2014) Size, settling velocity and density of small suspended particles at an active salmon aquaculture site. Aquacult Environ Interact 6:29-42. https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00116

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