A Scientific Review of the Potential Environmental Effects of Aquaculture in Aquatic Ecosystems - Volume 2

The complete paper can be found in the following document:

Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 2003. A scientific review of the potential environmental effects of aquaculture in aquatic ecosystems. Volume II. Disease interactions between wild and cultured shellfish (S.M. Bower and S.E. McGladdery). Can.Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 2450: viii + 33 p.



The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring the responsible and sustainable development of the aquaculture industry in Canada.  The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans' announcement of the $75 M Program for Sustainable Aquaculture (PSA), in August 2000, is a clear expression of this commitment.  The objective of the PSA is to support the sustainable development of the aquaculture sector, with a focus on enhancing public confidence in the sector and on improving the industry's global competitiveness.  Ensuring the sector operates under environmentally sustainable conditions is a key federal role.

As the lead federal agency for aquaculture, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is committed to well-informed and scientifically-based decisions pertaining to the aquaculture industry.  DFO has an ongoing program of scientific research to improve its knowledge of the environmental effects of aquaculture.  The department is also engaged with stakeholders, provinces and the industry in coordinating research and fostering partnerships.  As a contribution to the Federal government's Program for Sustainable Aquaculture,DFO is conducting a scientific review of the potential environmental effects of aquaculture in marine and freshwater ecosystems.

Goal and Scope

Known as the State-of-Knowledge (SOK) Initiative, this scientific review provides the current status of scientific knowledge and recommends future research studies.  The review covers marine finfish and shellfish, and freshwater finfish aquaculture.  The review focuses primarily on scientific knowledge relevant to Canada.  Scientific knowledge on potential environmental effects is addressed under three main themes: impacts of wastes (including nutrient and organic matter); chemicals used by the industry (including pesticides, drugs and antifoulants); and interactions between farmed fish and wild species (including disease transfer, and genetic and ecological interactions). 

This review presents potential environmental effects of aquaculture as reported in the scientific literature.  The environmental effects of aquaculture activities are site-specific and are influenced by environmental conditions and production characteristics at each farm site.  While the review summarizes available scientific knowledge, it does not constitute a site-specific assessment of aquaculture operations.  In addition, the review does not cover the effects of the environment on aquaculture production.

The papers target a scientific and well-informed audience, particularly individuals and organizations involved in the management of research on the environmental interactions of aquaculture.  The papers are aimed at supporting decision-making on research priorities, information sharing, and interacting with various organizations on research priorities and possible research partnerships.

Each paper was written by or under the direction of DFO scientists and was peer-reviewed by three experts.  The peer reviewers and DFO scientists help ensure that the papers are up-to-date at the time of publication.  Recommendations on cost-effective, targeted research areas will be developed after publication of the full series of SOK review papers.

State-of-Knowledge Series

DFO plans to publish 12 review papers as part of the SOK Initiative, with each paper reviewing one aspect of the environmental effects of aquaculture.  This Volume contains three papers: Far-field environmental effects of marine finfish aquaculture; Ecosystem level effects of marine bivalve aquaculture; Chemical use in marine finfish aquaculture in Canada: a review of current practices and possible environmental effects.

Further Information

For further information on a paper, please contact the senior author.  For further information on the SOK Initiative, please contact the following:

Environmental Science
Fisheries, Environment and Biodiversity Science
Science Sector 
Fisheries and Oceans Canada 
200 Kent Street
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0E6

Aquaculture Science
Ocean and Aquaculture Science 
Science Sector
Fisheries and Oceans Canada 
200 Kent Street 
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0E6