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Aquaculture Environment Interactions

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AEI 6:135-149 (2015)  -  DOI:

Spatial distribution of suspended particulate wastes at open-water Atlantic salmon and sablefish aquaculture farms in Canada

Lindsay M. Brager1, Peter J. Cranford1,*, Jonathan Grant2, Shawn M. C. Robinson3

1Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, 1 Challenger Dr., 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, 531 Brandy Cove Rd., St. Andrews, New Brunswick E5B 2L9, Canada
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Finfish aquaculture results in the production of particulate waste products that include uneaten feed and faeces. The impact of these wastes on the suspended particle field at 4 open-water fish farms in Canada was studied using high-resolution in situ particle sensors. Within-pen sampling at a sablefish Anoplopoma fimbria farm in British Columbia provided some evidence of the release of low levels (mean effect <0.2 mg l-1) of waste feed near the surface (1-3 m depth), but no waste signal was detectable in surface waters outside this farm. Enhancement of the particle field was also not apparent in surface waters (0.5-2 m depth) within the boundaries of an Atlantic salmon Salmo salar farm in the Bay of Fundy. However, data collected outside 2 adjacent farms indicated periodic, low-level particle enhancement (significant mean effect of <1.0 mg l-1; p < 0.001) near the surface immediately down-current from the net-pens. Despite the large sample numbers obtained, consistent detection of waste particle enhancement was confounded by the apparently small effect size and natural seston patchiness. These results suggest that any farm-induced effect on the surrounding particle field at the study sites would be highly localized and episodic. Consequently, the potential for enhanced production by co-cultured bivalve filter-feeders at these integrated multi-trophic aquaculture farms is limited by available space close to net-pens and the periodic availability of low levels of suspended particulate fish wastes.

KEY WORDS: Aquaculture wastes · Suspended particulate matter · Biomitigation · Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture · Salmo salar · Anoplopoma fimbria

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Cite this article as: Brager LM, Cranford PJ, Grant J, Robinson SMC (2015) Spatial distribution of suspended particulate wastes at open-water Atlantic salmon and sablefish aquaculture farms in Canada. Aquacult Environ Interact 6:135-149.

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