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Aquaculture Environment Interactions

    AEI prepress abstract   -  DOI:

    Low-impact rearing of a commercially valuable shellfish: sea-based container culture of European lobster Homarus gammarus in the United Kingdom

    L. J. Clarke*, R. A. Griffin, E. Domoney, H. C. M. Smith, L. J. Tilsley, C. Ellis, E. Theobald, M. Slater, J. Scolding, S. Cuthbertson, R. E. Jones, L. Johanning, C. L. Daniels

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: There is increasing interest in the aquaculture of high value shellfish species such as European lobster Homarus gammarus. Recent years have seen the development of extractive rearing equipment requiring no additional feed input, including novel sea-based container culture (SBCC) systems designed specifically for lobster mariculture. Here, we report the results of a study which assessed the impact of SBCC systems on the local ecology surrounding a pilot-scale lobster farm (Lobster Grower) integrated into an existing mussel farm in St Austell Bay, Cornwall, UK, across 2 monitoring surveys. We assessed the impact of SBCC systems on the macrobenthic, epifaunal, and mobile species ecology across the study area through benthic grab sampling, drop-down camera, and baited-remote underwater video (BRUV) monitoring. We detected no changes to local sediment composition around SBCC systems, nor changes in macrobenthic diversity or community structure. Increased detritus and biodeposition originating from SBCC systems may be attracting increased epifaunal scavengers, while the presence of the containers and associated infrastructure may act as fish-aggregating devices and provide additional foraging opportunity for mobile fish. These extractive systems may provide low-impact and low-carbon opportunities for coastal mariculture in the face of increased global demand for shellfish.