MEPS 518:281-287 (2015)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11048

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An integrated ecosystem approach for assessing the potential role of cultivated bivalve shells as part of the carbon trading system

R. Filgueira1,*, C. J. Byron2,**, L. A. Comeau1, B. Costa-Pierce2, P. J. Cranford3, J. G. Ferreira4, J. Grant5, T. Guyondet1, H. M. Jansen6,7, T. Landry1, C. W. McKindsey8, J. K. Petersen9, G. K. Reid10,11, S. M. C. Robinson11, A. Smaal7, R. Sonier1, Ø. Strand6, T. Strohmeier6

1Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Gulf Fisheries Centre, Science Branch, PO Box 5030, Moncton, New Brunswick E1C 9B6, Canada
2Department of Marine Sciences, Marine Science Center, University of New England, Biddeford, Maine 04005, USA
3Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, NS B2Y 4A2, Canada
4Department of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Sciences and Technology, New University of Lisbon, Qta Torre,
2829-516 Monte de Caparica, Portugal
5Department of Oceanography, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4R2, Canada
6Institute of Marine Research, PO Box 1870 Nordnes, 5817 Bergen, Norway
7Institute for Marine Resources and Ecosystem Studies (IMARES), PO Box 77, 4400 AB Yerseke, The Netherlands
8Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Maurice-Lamontagne Institute, Ocean and Environmental Sciences Division, PO Box 1000, Mont Joli, Quebec G5H 3Z4, Canada
9The Danish Shellfish Centre—DTU Aqua, 7900 Nykøbing Mors, Denmark
10Canadian Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture Network (CIMTAN), University of New Brunswick, PO Box 5050, Saint John, New Brunswick E2L 4L5, Canada
11Department of Fisheries and Oceans, St. Andrews Biological Station, 531 Brandy Cove Road, St. Andrews, New Brunswick E5B 2L9, Canada
*Corresponding author: **Co-authors after R. Filgueira are listed in alphabetical order

ABSTRACT: The role of bivalve mariculture in the CO2 cycle has been commonly evaluated as the balance between respiration, shell calcium carbonate sequestration and CO2 release during biogenic calcification. However, this approach neglects the ecosystem implications of cultivating bivalves at high densities, e.g. the impact on phytoplankton dynamics and benthic-pelagic coupling, which can significantly contribute to the CO2 cycle. Therefore, an ecosystem approach that accounts for the trophic interactions of bivalve aquaculture, including dissolved and particulate organic and inorganic carbon cycling, is needed to provide a rigorous assessment of the role of bivalve mariculture in the CO2 cycle. On the other hand, the discussion about the inclusion of shells of cultured bivalves into the carbon trading system should be framed within the context of ecosystem goods and services. Humans culture bivalves with the aim of producing food, not sequestering CO2 in their shells, therefore the main ecosystem good provided by bivalve aquaculture is meat production, and shells should be considered as by-products of this human activity. This reasoning provides justification for dividing up respired CO2 between meat and shell when constructing a specific bivalve CO2 budget for potential use of bivalve shells in the carbon trading system. Thus, an integrated ecosystem approach, as well as an understanding of the ecosystems goods and services of bivalve aquaculture, are 2 essential requisites for providing a reliable assessment of the role of bivalve shells in the CO2 cycle.


KEY WORDS: Aquaculture · Bivalve · CO2 · Carbon cycling · Carbon trading system


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Cite this article as: Filgueira R, Byron CJ, Comeau LA, Costa-Pierce B and others (2015) An integrated ecosystem approach for assessing the potential role of cultivated bivalve shells as part of the carbon trading system. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 518:281-287. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11048

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