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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 155:147-157 (1997)  -  doi:10.3354/meps155147

Prediction of benthic impact for salmon net-pens based on the balance of benthic oxygen supply and demand

Findlay RH, Watling L

The ratio between oxygen supply and oxygen demand was examined as a predictor of benthic response to organic enrichment caused by salmon net-pen aquaculture. Oxygen supply to the benthos was calculated based on Fickian diffusion and near-bottom flow velocities. A strong linear correlation was found between measured carbon sedimentation rates and rates of benthic metabolism. This relationship allowed an estimation of oxygen demand based on sedimentation rates. Comparison of several production sites in Maine (USA) coastal waters showed that for sites where oxygen demand exceeded supply benthic impacts were high and for sites where oxygen supply exceeded demand benthic impacts were low. These findings were summarized in the form of a predictive model that should be useful in siting salmon production facilities.

Aquaculture · Benthic metabolism · Marine pollution

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