Investigating the Impacts of Intensive Oyster Farming in New Brunswick



In this project a single explanatory variable, stocking density will be manipulated. Our first objective is to identify the stocking density at which oyster productivity is significantly (p < 0.05) curtailed. This density may be referred to as the "Production Carrying Capacity density" or PCCd. The PCCd is undoubtedly site dependent. Here the PCCd would be identified at two sites (low current velocity and high current velocity). Perhaps more importantly, the project would lead to the development of a small experimental unit for assessing the PCCd. We expect that this portable unit would ultimately become an important tool for optimizing stocking densities at the lease scale.

Our second objective is to determine if the PCCd significantly (p < 0.05) alters:

  1. organic sedimentation rates
  2. sediment sulphide levels
  3. sediment redox potential
  4. sediment organic content
  5. benthic macrofauna community

Finally, as a third objective, we would determine whether stocking oysters beyond the PCCd significantly alters the environment. In this case, we would deploy oysters at peak densities reported elsewhere in the world (~ 8,000 bags per ha).

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2008 - 2012


Atlantic: Gulf of Maine, Scotian Shelf

Principal Investigator(s)

Luc Comeau