AEI 4:1-15 (2013)  -  DOI:

Influence of climate on Pelorus Sound mussel aquaculture yields: predictive models and underlying mechanisms

J. R. Zeldis1,2,*, M. G. Hadfield3, D. J. Booker

1National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd., 10 Kyle St., PO Box 8602, Riccarton 8011, Christchurch, New Zealand
2Joint Graduate School in Coastal and Marine Science, University of Auckland, 12 Grafton Rd, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
3National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd, 301 Evans Bay Parade, Greta Point, Wellington 6022, New Zealand

ABSTRACT: Multiple regression models were used to predict aquaculture production in Pelorus Sound, a 50 km long estuary supporting 68% of New Zealand?s greenshell mussel Perna canaliculus aquaculture industry (worth NZ$204 million per annum). Mussel meat yield was modelled using both biological predictors, including seston (indexed by particulate nitrogen, PN), phytoplankton and nutrients collected over 9 yr (July 1997 to November 2005) by the mussel industry, and physical, climatic predictors, including Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), along-shelf winds, sea surface temperature (SST) and Pelorus River flow, held in New Zealand national databases. Yield was best predicted using biological predictors collected locally at the farms inside the sound, but it was also predictable using only physical predictors collected distant from the farming region. Seston (mussel food) was also predictable using the physical predictors. Optimal predictor sets for yield and seston differed between summer and winter half-years. In summer, deep water (which enters the sound through the estuarine circulation) at the sound entrance was nitrate (NO3-)-rich during upwelling conditions (negative SOI, NNW wind stress and cool SST). The increased NO3- levels, in turn, triggered increased PN within the sound. In the winter half-year, PN was unrelated to upwelling and NO3- effects at the entrance and was instead related to river flow. Remotely-sensed SST data showed that in summer, upwelling affected the entrance waters of the sound under negative SOI and upwelling-favourable wind stress, patterns which dissipated in winter. Overall, these results show that time series of physical drivers can be useful for explaining production variation of farmed bivalves and indicate the prospects for using data routinely collected in national databases for predicting mussel yield.

KEY WORDS: Bivalve · Prediction · ENSO · Upwelling · River flow · Estuaries · Phytoplankton · Seston

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Cite this article as: Zeldis JR, Hadfield MG, Booker DJ (2013) Influence of climate on Pelorus Sound mussel aquaculture yields: predictive models and underlying mechanisms. Aquacult Environ Interact 4:1-15.

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