Canadian Aquaculture R&D Review 2015

CIMTAN

THE CANADIAN INTEGRATED MULTI-TROPHIC AQUACULTURE NETWORK (CIMTAN)

The Canadian Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture Network (CIMTAN) is an NSERC strategic network initiated in 2010. It integrates academic knowledge and industrial know-how in a formal network that combines: a strategic approach; inter-disciplinary, multi-institutional and multi-sectoral strengths; and shared expertise to develop and advance innovative and improved environmentally-responsible aquaculture technologies and practices. The aim of CIMTAN research is to ecologically engineer systems for increased environmental sustainability (ecosystem services and green technologies for improved ecosystem health), economic stability (improved output, lower costs, product diversification, risk reduction, and job creation in coastal and rural communities), and societal acceptability (better management practices, improved regulatory governance, nutrient trading credit incentives, and appreciation of differentiated and safe products).

CIMTAN is providing inter-disciplinary research and development and highly qualified personnel (HQP) training in the following linked areas: (1) ecological design, ecosystem interactions, and bio-mitigative efficiency; (2) system innovation and engineering; (3) economic viability and societal acceptance; and (4) regulatory science. These areas will facilitate the commercialization of IMTA in Canada. The Network is organized into three linked Domains reflecting the four linked areas identified above: Domain 1 (environmental system performance and species interactions) is comprised of 10 projects of an environmental nature; Domain 2 (system design and engineering) is comprised of 4 projects of an engineering nature; and both are linked by the cross-cutting Domain 3 (economic analyses and social implications, with 2 projects), as biological, environmental, biotechnological, and engineering issues are always linked to economic aspects and social acceptability. Each Domain is co-led by a scientist at an academic institution and one at a Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) laboratory.

The Network consists of 27 scientists from 8 universities (UBC, UNBSJ, VIU, UVic, UPEI, U Guelph, Dalhousie U, and SFU), 6 federal government laboratories (DFO), 1 provincial government laboratory (New Brunswick Research and Productivity Council), and 4 industrial partners (Cooke Aquaculture Inc., Kyuquot SEAfoods Ltd., Marine Harvest Canada Ltd., and Grieg Seafood BC Ltd.). The Network is hosted by the University of New Brunswick in Saint John (UNBSJ). Training of Highly Qualified Persons (HQPs) is a very high priority for CIMTAN. The initial target of training 114 HQPs, over the entire life of the Network, has been exceeded in 2014, as 116 have already been trained: 60 undergraduate/summer students; 22 MSc, 4 MASc, 5 MRM and 3 MA graduate students; 4 PhD students; 6 postdoctoral fellows; 11 technicians; and 1 research scientist. There has been significant mobility of HQPs and investigators within projects, between east and west coast projects and internationally (Norway and Chile), as it is important to develop a versatile and inter-disciplinary workforce if we want the scientists, policy influencers, decision makers, regulators, and industrialists of tomorrow to be innovative and build a more diversified and responsible aquaculture sector.

One of the incremental benefits of a network approach includes access to an enlarged equipment and tool inventory at academic institutions and government laboratories. Conducting experimental research on the east and west coasts in a concerted manner allows the acquisition of complementary and compatible information, hence increasing research outputs and outcomes and reducing redundancies in research efforts. Moreover, by gathering data on a wide geographical and temporal basis, with a wide range of environmental conditions, more generalized trends may be discerned. This will allow for the design of more robust systems and policies, taking into consideration both the universality of some aspects and the regional specificity of others.

After 4 years of existence, CIMTAN has produced a diversified array of documents and media directed at different audiences: 40 refereed journal articles, 17 refereed conference publications, 8 book chapters, edited 1 Bulletin of the Aquaculture Association of Canada, 17 non-refereed publications, 198 abstracts, 2 technical reports, 1 Wikipedia article, 7 YouTube videos, 20 CIMTAN Snippets newsletters, and numerous media contacts (magazine articles, newspapers/radio/TV interviews and documentaries).

The following section describes each of the CIMTAN projects.

Jan. 2010–Dec. 2015

Funded By: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Coucil (NSERC) Strategic Network Program Co-Funded By: Fisheries and Oceans Canada; University of New Brunswick; New Brunswick Research Productivity Council; Cooke Aquaculture Inc.; Kyuquot SEAfoods Ltd.; Marine Harvest Canada Ltd.; Grieg Seafood BC Ltd.

Project Lead: Thierry Chopin (UNBSJ)

Project Team: Bruce MacDonald, Adrian Hamer (UNBSJ); Gregor Reid (UNBSJ/DFO); Shawn Robinson, Chris Pearce, Saleem Rahman (DFO); Maycira Costa (UVic); Duncan Knowler (SFU)

Collaborators: Fisheries and Oceans Canada; The New Brunswick Research and Productivity Council; Cooke Aquaculture Inc.; Kyuquot SEAfoods Ltd.; Marine Harvest Canada Ltd.; Grieg Seafood BC Ltd.

Contact: tchopin@unbsj.ca

www.cimtan.ca

Photo: Thierry Chopin (UNBSJ)

CULTIVATION OF COMPLEMENTARY INORGANIC EXTRACTIVE SPECIES FOR INCREASED SYSTEM PERFORMANCE

This project investigates the red alga Palmaria palmata (dulse) for increased inorganic bio-mitigation of IMTA systems when kelps are not present at the sites. Little is known about the complex life history or the presence of the different phases of this species in nature, especially during fall and winter. Recruitment was monitored on the shore with twines mounted on frames. The number and size of recruits increase during summer and the occurrence of the different generations was documented. By varying desiccation time, darkness period, and seawater temperature, massive releases of tetraspores are now obtained. Desiccation and temperature play an important role in the induction of tetraspore release. A technique for rapid and reliable quantification and sizing of these large and fragile spores was developed using a Coulter Counter. We then worked on the best substrates for successful spore settlement. The effect of light on germination and growth of tetraspores into male and female gametophytes is now being studied. Molecular techniques are being developed to distinguish male gametophytes from tetrasporophytes, which are indistinguishable when reproductively immature. Organic certification was also obtained for the two kelps, Saccharina latissima and Alaria esculenta, already cultivated at the IMTA sites.

This research will develop another inorganic extractive species for the summer period, whereas kelps are at the sites from the fall to spring/early summer. The project is also looking at the development of appropriate and efficient regulations for seaweeds and for the management of inorganic nutrient biomitigation at the Bay Management Area (BMA) level.

Jan. 2010–Dec. 2015

Funded By: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Coucil (NSERC) Strategic Network Program Co-Funded By: Fisheries and Oceans Canada; University of New Brunswick; New Brunswick Research Productivity Council, Cooke Aquaculture Inc.; Kyuquot SEAfoods Ltd.; Marine Harvest Canada Ltd.; Grieg Seafood BC Ltd.

Project Lead: Thierry Chopin (UNBSJ)

Project Team: Constanza Chianale, Caroline Longtin, Ellen Belyea, Adrian Hamer, Marissa Gale (UNBSJ)

Collaborators: Cooke Aquaculture Inc.

Contact: tchopin@unbsj.ca

www.cimtan.ca

The conundrum of the life cycle of dulse (Palmaria palmata): at 59 days, a female gametophyte (right) has reached its full size (less than 1 mm in diameter) and is fully reproductively mature; a juvenile male gametophyte (left) will reach its full size (10-20 cm, or more, in length) next year and will only then be reproductively mature. Given these divergent timeframes of sexual maturity, this female would have to be crossed with a male from a previous year. Photo: Constanza Chianale (UNBSJ)

SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS OF IMTA: EXPLORING THE FUTURE OF COASTAL AQUACULTURE AND THE POTENTIAL FOR IMTA ADOPTION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

This study is identifying some of the key concerns that First Nations communities have regarding the development of aquaculture within their traditional territories. It is also assessing the level of awareness of IMTA and the information needs that must be met before First Nations can consider the adoption of IMTA.

This project focuses on the social implications (governance, community development, First Nations) aspects of IMTA. Our focus to date has been on gaining insight into First Nations perspectives on coastal aquaculture practices and their assessment of IMTA as a sustainable production system that is consistent with traditional values. This research is being undertaken on the west coast, as most aquaculture tenures in BC are located within First Nation traditional territories. Any changes in existing tenures, or development of new ones, require consultation with First Nations communities. To provide a basis for broader consultations regarding the opportunities and challenges facing the adoption of IMTA within First Nations traditional territories, a key informant survey was undertaken to assess concerns with seaweed, shellfish, and finfish farming. Generally, farming seaweeds was not something that had been considered by the communities. Shellfish aquaculture, however, was seen as a promising economic development opportunity that was consistent with their traditional values. There was very strong opposition to salmon farming owing to the perceived environmental and ecosystem impacts. While there was interest in IMTA, the informants also acknowledged a lack of information on the ecological and economic aspects of its development.

Jan. 2010–Dec. 2015

Funded By: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Coucil (NSERC) Strategic Network Program Co-Funded By: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO); University of New Brunswick; New Brunswick Research Productivity Council; Cooke Aquaculture Inc.; Kyuquot SEAfoods Ltd.; Marine Harvest Canada Ltd.; Grieg Seafood BC Ltd.

Project Lead: Mark Flaherty (UVic)

Project Team: Grant Murray (VIU); Stephen Cross, Erin Latham, Katie Tubbutt (UVic)

Contact: flaherty@mail.geog.uvic.ca

www.cimtan.ca

A VARIATION ON THE IMTA THEME FOR LAND-BASED, FRESHWATER AQUACULTURE OPERATIONS: THE DEVELOPMENT OF FRESHWATER IMTA (FIMTA) FOR SALMON AND AQUAPONIC PLANTS

The Freshwater IMTA program (FIMTA) helps identify effluent treatment efficiency strategies for different hatchery configurations to meet regulatory limits. The pilot-scale FIMTA system is very useful for selecting plants that will be a good match for conditions experienced at fish hatcheries in a cold temperate climate. Developing FIMTA will allow an extension of IMTA from egg to plate, increase water reuse, and product diversification.

Analyses were performed to identify the best setting for a pilot FIMTA project at different freshwater salmon hatchery facilities. A computerized visual assessment tool was developed to evaluate hatchery performances regarding dissolved nutrient recovery. The treatment system efficacy (physical, chemical, and biological) was analysed at different locations within hatcheries. A visual interface provides a fast and reliable way to simplify application development and accelerate management. Data are then subjected to regulatory levels. The program contains a series of databases accessible to the various software objects, including both static and dynamic data. Databases are maintained for each component for basic information, simulation settings, and water characteristics. The program consists of a communication interface and other basic forms such as necessary flow, nutrient concentrations, and efficiency potential percentages. The management tool interface can identify and predict dissolved nutrient concentrations and flows at the different locations. A variety of edible, ornamental, and medicinal plants are tested for growth and nutrient absorption capabilities in a temperature/light controlled FIMTA pilot-scale system using effluent water from a local commercial hatchery. The use of IMTA kelp biochar, as a medium for seedling development and plant support, is also examined.

Sep. 2012–Dec. 2015

Funded By: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Coucil (NSERC) Strategic Network Program Co-Funded By: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO); University of New Brunswick; New Brunswick Research Productivity Council; Cooke Aquaculture Inc.; Kyuquot SEAfoods Ltd.; Marine Harvest Canada Ltd.; Grieg Seafood BC Ltd.

Project Lead: Thierry Chopin (UNBSJ)

Project Team: Hamid Khoda Bakhsh, Stacy Murray, Ellen Belyea, Adrian Hamer (UNBSJ)

Collaborators: Cooke Aquaculture Inc.

Contact: tchopin@unbsj.ca

www.cimtan.ca

Hamid Khoda Bakhsh, Stacy Murray, and Thierry Chopin contemplating their first FIMTA production. Time to prepare the salad dressing! Photo: Adrian Hamer (UNBSJ)

DEVELOPING TOOLS TO QUANTIFY SALMON AQUACULTURE NUTRIENTS IN WILD AND CULTURED ALTERNATIVE SPECIES

New methods to quantify and monitor impacts of aquaculture nutrient enrichment on the environment are being investigated. To better understand the influence of particulate nutrient sources in the midwater zone, the relationship between fouling species, distance, and the physical environment were tested using an array of bio-colonization plates. The most prevalent fouling species near salmon aquaculture sites are studied for changes in bio-accumulation rates and instantaneous growth. Bio-accumulation for these species is surprisingly variable around a salmon farm and can provide information on optimal IMTA site design with respect to nutrient availability and environmental conditions. The colour response in three native macro-algae (Ulva lactuca, Pyropia purpurea, and Palmaria palmata), relative to their total nitrogen content, has also been investigated. The objective is to develop a simple technique, based on colour characterization (lightness, chroma, and hue), as a faster and cheaper proxy for biochemical analyses of tissue total nitrogen content. If this approach can lead to the development of a useful tool, monitors will be able to quickly and cheaply determine the internal nitrogen content of the selected algal species and the conditions to which it was likely to have been exposed, using this macro-alga as an indicator-over-time of nutrient loading.

Such methods can offer new tools for measuring changes in nutrient exposure for both wild and cultured species in the coastal zone, and a new approach to monitoring nutrient effects of aquaculture with respect to optimal design for integrated species and overall site performance.

Jan. 2010–Dec. 2015

Funded By: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Coucil (NSERC) Strategic Network Program Co-Funded By: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO); University of New Brunswick; New Brunswick Research Productivity Council; Cooke Aquaculture Inc.; Kyuquot SEAfoods Ltd.; Marine Harvest Canada Ltd.; Grieg Seafood BC Ltd.

Project Lead: Andrew Cooper (DFO)

Project Team: Thierry Chopin, Jonathan Day (UNBSJ)

Collaborators: Cooke Aquaculture Inc.

Contact: Andrew.Cooper@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

www.cimtan.ca

Fragments of the green alga, Ulva lactuca, analyzed for their colour with a handheld colour spectrometer as a means of monitoring dissolved nutrients. Photo: Andrew Cooper (DFO)

SPATIAL AND TEMPORAL PARTICULATE DYNAMICS AND THEIR INFLUENCE ON UPTAKE SPECIES PLACEMENT AT AN IMTA SITE

This research shows the value of using high resolution bio-optical data within an IMTA setting. The results are consistent with others showing particulate waste dilution during high ambient seston periods and the dominant vertical dispersion of particulate wastes towards the seafloor.

Bio-optical parameters are commonly used to collect high resolution particulate concentration/composition data within the coastal environment. However, these methods are rarely utilized within aquaculture settings. This study focused on the collection of bio-optical data within a sablefish cage at an IMTA site on the west coast of Vancouver Island. This was done to gain an understanding of ambient particulate dynamics and also to detail the dispersion of organic wastes to aid in the placement of secondary uptake species for waste assimilation. During autumn/winter, ambient seston concentrations were low and distinct bio-optical enhancements were measured with time after feeding at the bottom of the studied cage, likely due to fish wastes. In contrast, spring/summer bio-optical variability was driven by phytoplankton and wastes were likely diluted into the particle rich environments. These results suggest that particulate wastes would be most available to uptake species during low seston conditions. Additionally, due to the observed dominant vertical movement of wastes, the most effective placement of uptake species for waste assimilation is likely below the studied cage. With further research, bio-optical measurements could provide valuable high resolution data on both ambient and waste particulate dynamics within aquaculture settings.

Jan. 2010–Dec. 2015

Funded By: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Coucil (NSERC) Strategic Network Program Co-Funded By: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO); University of New Brunswick; New Brunswick Research Productivity Council; Cooke Aquaculture Inc.; Kyuquot SEAfoods Ltd.; Marine Harvest Canada Ltd.; Grieg Seafood BC Ltd.

Project Lead: Maycira Costa (UVic)

Project Team: Stephen Cross, Justin Del Bel Belluz (UVic); Gregor Reid (UNBSJ, DFO)

Contact: maycira@uvic.ca

www.cimtan.ca

Plot of particulate backscattering (colour mapping), which is a proxy for particulate concentrations, with depth (y-axis) and time through the day (x-axis). Take note of the higher values at the bottom of the cage (14 m), which increase directly after the fish were fed (approximately at 10:30).

The bio-optical profiler being lowered into a Sablefish cage. Photo: Justin Del Bel Belluz (UVic)

DESIGN AND INVESTIGATION OF FEASIBILITY OF DEMAND SIDE MANAGEMENT CONTROL OF A RENEWABLE ENERGY SYSTEM AT AN IMTA SITE

Aquaculture sites are often remotely located, far from grid electricity. As the overall intent of IMTA is to reduce the environmental impact of aquaculture operations, the provision of clean power on-site is being investigated to avoid the need for diesel gensets which are used currently. The primary electrical loads are a set of winches on a moveable tram used for raising and lowering extractive species nets. A battery-solar system has been initially designed for the west coast demonstration site using a custom probabilistic energy system sizing program. Detailed physical design of the system has evolved to a configuration that places the solar panels and battery modules in a hut at one end of the fish farm docks, and includes a diesel backup to ensure continuous operations in the event of system inturruption. The system consists of eight 175 W solar panels, a 1500 Ah battery bank, and an existing 2 kW backup gasoline generator. Cables then provide power to the mobile tram with electric winches, as well as various power ports on the docks for incidental loads. Sensors are included to measure system performance and insolation (exposure to the sun) for testing purposes. Once the system is fully installed and operational, data will be gathered to assess the accuracy of the prediction/sizing models, thereby validating the model for use in the design of renewable energy systems for other IMTA sites.

The demonstation project will prove out the feasibility of a renewably powered IMTA system on the west coast. The sizing/performance modelling tool will be validated and available for future design of other IMTA renewable systems.

Jan. 2010–Dec. 2015

Funded By: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Coucil (NSERC) Strategic Network Program Co-Funded By: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO); University of New Brunswick; New Brunswick Research Productivity Council; Cooke Aquaculture Inc.; Kyuquot SEAfoods Ltd.; Marine Harvest Canada Ltd.; Grieg Seafood BC Ltd.

Project Lead: Curran Crawford (UVic)

Project Team: Stephen Cross, Adam Gray, Nima Tehrani (UVic)

Collaborators: Kyuquot SEAfoods Ltd.

Contact: curranc@uvic.ca

www.cimtan.ca

General layout of the 2.2 kW renewable energy system to power the SEATram at Kyuquot SEAFoods Ltd. This solar photo-voltaic system will provide clean energy throughout the year, reducing farm greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improving shellfish grading and harvesting operations. Photo: Stephen Cross (UVic)

ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS OF IMTA

In the last year, we completed a first ever assessment of how British Columbians value their coastal environment as a pretext to examining the role that IMTA might play in supporting these values. Since we carried out similar analyses in the markets for BC farmed salmon earlier (in the USA), we anticipate an interesting comparative analysis to emerge from this work. Similarly, we framed our research in both locations to be a comparison of IMTA and closed containment versus conventional monoculture, so that we could assess preferences for these two alternative technologies in relation to the monoculture reference. Our initial results suggest that US consumers view IMTA much more favorably than closed containment, while BC residents are the opposite. Thus, we detect large differences in preferences between the producing (BC) and consuming (USA west coast) regions towards alternative technologies. This year also saw our newly initiated research emphasis shift from the market context for IMTA to modelling the production economics side of IMTA, including qualitative analyses of the industry’s reasons for adoption or non-adoption, identifying the full costs of shifting to IMTA, and simulating the full economic and environmental costs of IMTA versus monoculture. Results are not yet available for these activities.

We anticipate our main impact will be on how policymakers, researchers, and the general public perceive the appropriate response to problems associated with monoculture salmon farming. Our expectation is that this will influence the design of incentives to help the industry better align its activities with society’s best interests and to allow IMTA to play an appropriate role in the process.

Jan. 2010–Dec. 2015

Funded By: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Coucil (NSERC) Strategic Network Program Co-Funded By: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO); University of New Brunswick; New Brunswick Research Productivity Council; Cooke Aquaculture Inc.; Kyuquot SEAfoods Ltd.; Marine Harvest Canada Ltd.; Grieg Seafood BC Ltd.

Project Lead: Duncan Knowler (SFU)

Project Team: Winnie Yip, Kim Irwin, Stefan Crampton, Hossein Ayouqi, Mark Carras (SFU)

Contact: djk@sfu.ca

www.cimtan.ca

EVALUATING THE PERFORMANCE OF PROPOSED AND EXISTING IMTA SITES USING AN ECOSYSTEM MODELLING APPROACH

This modelling scheme provides valuable information for the aquaculture industry in order to improve the siting of existing and new IMTA sites. The outcomes of the model could be used to define areas of potential impact, investigate interactions with other marine resources, and design monitoring guidelines.

The design of ocean-based finfish-shellfish IMTA farms is not trivial due to the complexity of coastal areas, particularly because biological processes in open-waters are influenced by water circulation, which includes the dispersal of finfish wastes. Consequently, the design of new IMTA sites or the evaluation of existing sites require a combined study of biological and physical processes, which can be achieved by the execution and coupling of mathematical models. In this project, a highly configurable mathematical model that can be applied at the apparent spatial scale of IMTA sites has been developed. The model allows for tracking of the different components of the seston in an IMTA site, including feed wastes, fish faeces, shellfish faeces, natural detritus, and phytoplankton. Based on the characterization of these fluxes of matter, the model can be used to explore different spatial arrangements for evaluating and improving finfish/shellfish farm efficiency. The model also predicts that the mitigation efficiency of the IMTA farm is highly dependent on the background environmental conditions.

Sep. 2012–Dec. 2015

Funded By: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Coucil (NSERC) Strategic Network Program Co-Funded By: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO); University of New Brunswick; New Brunswick Research Productivity Council; Cooke Aquaculture Inc.; Kyuquot SEAfoods Ltd.; Marine Harvest Canada Ltd.; Grieg Seafood BC Ltd.

Project Lead: Jonathan Grant (Dalhousie U)

Project Team: Ramón Filgueira, Thomas Guyondet, Peter Cranford (DFO); Gregor Reid (UNBSJ, DFO)

Collaborators: Cooke Aquaculture Inc.

Contact: Jon.Grant@dal.ca

www.cimtan.ca

Mapping at a theoretical IMTA site. Regular hexagons represent fish cages and the irregular ones shellfish long-lines. A) Probability map of vertical flux of carbon distribution at 15 m depth (beneath fish cages) over a tidal cycle. B) Probability map of fish faeces distribution in the water column when velocity peaks at 5 cm/s in the direction of the arrow. Image: Ramón Filgueira (DFO)

CAN FILTER-FEEDING BIVALVES INGEST PLANKTONIC SEA LICE, LEADING TO REDUCED SEA LICE NUMBERS ON CULTIVATED SALMON?

The development of non-chemical sea lice mitigation techniques such as IMTA filter-feeding bivalves may help improve the environmental, societal, and economic performance of salmon farms.

The close proximity of salmon farms and wild Pacific salmon stocks in British Columbia is an important incentive for precautionary sea lice management strategies. We are investigating whether IMTA filter-feeding bivalves can provide preventative, natural sea louse control by ingesting sea lice larvae (nauplii and copepodids) from the water column, a system that exploits the sea louse life cycle and the natural filtration capabilities of bivalves. Field trials were conducted at a commercial salmon farm in British Columbia using Pacific Oysters, one of several bivalve species that consumed sea lice larvae in previous laboratory experiments. 30,000 oysters were deployed in trays at three depths around one end of the farm’s 2 x 7 square-cage array, and at a nearby control site. Throughout the study, oysters at the farm generally grew larger (both in shell length and tissue biomass) than oysters at the control site. Larval and attached sea lice stages were counted monthly in bivalve and control (no bivalves) fish cages. Sea lice larval densities and numbers of sea lice on the fish followed a similar monthly trend, peaking in January/February. Oyster digestive tracts were preserved and will be analyzed for partially-digested sea lice and sea louse DNA presence.

Jan. 2010–Dec. 2015

Funded By: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Coucil (NSERC) Strategic Network Program Co-Funded By: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO); University of New Brunswick; New Brunswick Research Productivity Council; Cooke Aquaculture Inc.; Kyuquot SEAfoods Ltd.; Marine Harvest Canada Ltd.; Grieg Seafood BC Ltd.

Project Lead: Chris Pearce (DFO)

Project Team: Stephen Cross, Allison Byrne, Janis Webb (UVic); Simon Jones, Shawn Robinson (DFO)

Collaborators: Grieg Seafood BC Ltd.; Marine Harvest Canada Ltd.

Contact: Chris.Pearce@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

www.cimtan.ca

Cleaning biofouling from Pacific Oyster trays at a salmon farm in the Broughton Archipelago, British Columbia. Photo: Allison Byrne (UVic)

EFFECTS OF ANTI-SEA LICE PESTICIDES ON MARINE INVERTEBRATES

Pesticides used to control ectoparasitic sea lice in salmon aquaculture are released in effluent plumes or treated feed and faeces from cage sites and have the potential to adversely affect non-target organisms. The toxicity of common anti-sea lice treatments AlphaMax® (active ingredient (a.i.) deltamethrin), Excis® (a.i. cypermethrin), Interox®Paramove™ 50 (a.i. hydrogen peroxide), Salmosan® (a.i. azamethiphos), and emamectin benzoate (an avermectin) have not been adequately studied for benthic crustaceans, such as marine amphipods, clam worms (sediment dwellers), and zooplankton living in the water column. The main objectives were to examine whether several species of invertebrates, native to the Bay of Fundy, are affected by common anti-sea lice treatments. Growth, behaviour, and survival of clam worms, zooplankton, and amphipods were assessed after shorter-term (up to 96 hours) and longer-term (10 to 30 days) exposures. Emamectin benzoate and AlphaMax® decreased the growth and burrowing behaviour of clam worms at sediment concentrations that may be found near cage sites. Similarly, environmentally realistic exposures of zooplankton to several of the pesticides reduced feeding and survival. Amphipod survival also decreased at AlphaMax® and Excis® concentrations that may be found in an effluent plume from a cage site.

These results suggest that the use of some anti-sea lice pesticides may pose a risk to non-target marine invertebrates living in the sediments and water column near cage sites.

Jan. 2010–Dec. 2015

Funded By: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Coucil (NSERC) Strategic Network Program Co-Funded By: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO); University of New Brunswick; New Brunswick Research Productivity Council; Cooke Aquaculture Inc.; Kyuquot SEAfoods Ltd.; Marine Harvest Canada Ltd.; Grieg Seafood BC Ltd.

Project Lead: Karen Kidd (UNBSJ)

Project Team: Les Burridge, Jordana Van Geest (DFO); Geoff McBriarty (UNBSJ)

Contact: kiddk@unb.ca

www.cimtan.ca

Sea worms (Nereis virens) being placed in freshly prepared emamectin benzoate-spiked beakers for exposure during a 30-day serial replacement bioassay. Photo: Geoff McBriarty (UNBSJ)

QUANTIFYING THE CAPTURE AND CONVERSION EFFICIENCIES OF SPECIES BEING CONSIDERED FOR ORGANIC EXTRACTION IN OPEN-WATER IMTA SYSTEMS

This project is assessing the capability of different invertebrate species to capture, absorb and convert particulate fish-farm waste into new production. On the east coast, Blue Mussels (Mytilus edulis) have been shown to be capable of ingesting and efficiently absorbing small organic material from both fish food, and faeces. After a variety of feeding trials using small artificial diets in the laboratory and natural particles at IMTA sites, we determined that the Orange-footed Sea Cucumber (Cucumaria frondosa) could also efficiently extract larger organic material from farm waste. Ongoing studies include assessing the feeding rate and particle size that sea cucumbers are utilizing as well as their faecal deposition rates. On the west coast, species being assessed for extractive capabilities include filter feeders, such as Basket Cockles (Clinocardium nuttallii) and M. edulis, as well as deposit feeders such as Green Sea Urchins (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis), California Sea Cucumbers (Parastichopus californicus) and Pacific Prawns (Pandalus platyceros). Sea urchins and sea cucumbers were found to ingest and absorb Sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria) faeces at rates comparable to or higher than those for traditional diets such as kelps and natural sediment, respectively.

This research has enabled the assessment of nutritional responses for a variety of shellfish and deposit-feeder species on diets of fish-farm organics, thereby providing crucial insight into co-cultured species selection and IMTA system efficiency.

Jan. 2010–Dec. 2015

Funded By: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Coucil (NSERC) Strategic Network Program Co-Funded By: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO); University of New Brunswick; New Brunswick Research Productivity Council; Cooke Aquaculture Inc.; Kyuquot SEAfoods Ltd.; Marine Harvest Canada Ltd.; Grieg Seafood BC Ltd.

Project Lead: Bruce MacDonald (UNBSJ)

Project Team: Shawn Robinson, Chris Pearce, Dan Curtis (DFO); Gregor Reid, Emily Nelson (UNBSJ, DFO); Stephen Cross, Sarah Sprague (UVic); Helen Gurney-Smith (VIU-CSR); Shannon Balfry (UBC-Vancouver Aquarium); Kurt Simmons (UNBSJ); Steve Pace (UBC)

Collaborators: Cooke Aquaculture Inc.; Kyuquot SEAfoods Ltd.

Contact: bmacdon@unb.ca

www.cimtan.ca

Kurt Simmons (UNBSJ) placing sea cucumbers in a sediment collector to estimate deposition rates in the field. Photo: Taryn Minch (UNBSJ)

EXTENSIVE VERSUS INTENSIVE IMTA SYSTEMS–HYDROGRAPHIC INFLUENCES AND THE IMPLICATIONS TO INFRASTRUCTURE DESIGN AND OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY

This project aims to quantify near and far-field hydrodynamics of square and circular cage arrays to guide in the placement of co-cultured species. Initial project work utilized the Finite-Volume primitive equation Community Ocean Model (FVCOM) to model localized currents around an IMTA site in Kyuquot Sound, Vancouver Island. Recent project developments have involved the deployment of 1 to 15 scale model cage-arrays in the Flume Tank facility at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Wake velocity studies have been completed on east coast circular aquaculture cage-arrays at common cage spacing used in the industry. Measurements at different distances downstream of the model arrays show wake topology, velocity deficits, and wake recovery. Unsteadiness and large scale turbulence has been observed in the wake of cage-arrays. Dye release studies have been completed in order to observe the flow field in and around cages within the array. Results to date indicate large velocity deficits in cages wakes, forcing flow around and below cages. The dye release data agree well with wake velocity measurements.

This research has led to a better understanding of fish cage-array effects on hydrodynamics and how this can influence near-field nutrient delivery from fish to co-cultured species.

Jan. 2010–Dec. 2015

Funded By: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Coucil (NSERC) Strategic Network Program Co-Funded By: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO); University of New Brunswick; New Brunswick Research Productivity Council; Cooke Aquaculture Inc.; Kyuquot SEAfoods Ltd.; Marine Harvest Canada Ltd.; Grieg Seafood BC Ltd.

Project Lead: Gregor Reid (UNBSJ, DFO)

Project Team: Tiger Jeans, Adam Turner (UNBF); Mike Foreman (DFO); Stephen Cross, Di Wan (UVic)

Collaborators: SEA Vision Group Ltd.; GMG Fish Services Ltd.; Marine Harvest Canada Ltd.

Contact: greid@unb.ca

www.cimtan.ca

Dye release study with 1 to 15 scale model cage-array, at the Flume Tank facility of Memorial University of Newfoundland. Photo: Adam Turner (UNBF)

MATHEMATICAL MODELLING FOR OPEN-WATER IMTA–DEVELOPING TOOLS TO SUPPORT SYSTEM DESIGN AND MEASURES OF SUSTAINABILITY

This project aims to quantify open-water IMTA efficiency of nutrient recovery and augmented growth. Several publications have been produced to date. One study explored the seaweed biomass required to remove soluble nutrients from salmon culture. The mean weight ratios of the seaweeds Alaria esculenta and Saccharina latissima required to sequester all soluble nutrients excreted per unit weight of salmon range from 4:1 to 13:1, depending on the nutrient. Another study reported the proportion of fish farm solids ingested by mussels needed to reduce site-wide organic loading at an IMTA site, which ranged between 10% and 20%. A third modelling study suggested the bio-mitigation potential of mussels will be greatest where seston abundance is low, organic dietary content high, and that achieving maximal waste extraction by mussel co-culture entails food particule depletion that may limit mussel production. Organic mitigation efficiency of deposit feeders are presently being modelled. Project results are providing valuable inputs for an IMTA bio-economic model being developed. This project has recently fostered some unique collaborations with IMTA projects in Norway.

This work has led to a better understanding of overall system efficiencies and has guided in the effective development of open-water IMTA farms, through such mechanisms as the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat review process to support policy development and management for Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Jan. 2010–Dec. 2015

Funded By: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Coucil (NSERC) Strategic Network Program Co-Funded By: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO); University of New Brunswick; New Brunswick Research Productivity Council; Cooke Aquaculture Inc.; Kyuquot SEAfoods Ltd.; Marine Harvest Canada Ltd.; Grieg Seafood BC Ltd.

Project Lead: Gregor Reid (UNBSJ, DFO)

Project Team: Bruce MacDonald, Thierry Chopin (UNBSJ); Shawn Robinson, Peter Cranford (DFO); Margaret Quinton (U Guelph)

Collaborators: Cooke Aquaculture Inc.

Contact: greid@unb.ca

www.cimtan.ca

Schematic representation of model elements to estimate weight ratios of seaweeds needed to sequester nutrients from salmon. Image: Gregor Reid, Thierry Chopin (UNBSJ)

QUANTIFYING THE ROLE OF MICROBES IN THE NUTRIENT RECYCLING OF ORGANIC MATERIAL FROM IMTA SITES

Understanding how nutrients are recycled around aquaculture sites in both time and space will allow better designing of future fish farms and how to fallow them between crops.

Marine bacteria are ubiquitous in both pelagic and benthic environments where they play a significant role in biomass, biodiversity, and biogeochemical processes such as recycling of organic nutrients. Most are nonpathogenic, generally operate unseen due to their small size, but are thought to be important in the nutrient dynamics around aquaculture farms. The objectives of this project are to determine bacterial species composition and abundance and their ecological role in nutrient recycling at IMTA sites. The research is showing that there are significant differences in the patterns of nutrient dynamics occurring in the water column compared to the sea bottom. Gradients of dissolved and particulate nutrients are very difficult to detect in the water column although higher levels of bacteria can be found near the farm, suggesting that these bacteria are capable of quickly assimilating the released nutrients. On the sea bottom near the farm where most of the particulate matter settles, there is a decreasing gradient of bacteria away from the site. Based on molecular analytical techniques, the study is finding that the bacterial species closest to the site are often specialists in nutrient recycling. This information is being incorporated into a computer model on nutrient dynamics at IMTA sites.

Jan. 2010–Dec. 2015

Funded By: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Coucil (NSERC) Strategic Network Program Co-Funded By: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO); University of New Brunswick; New Brunswick Research Productivity Council; Cooke Aquaculture Inc.; Kyuquot SEAfoods Ltd.; Marine Harvest Canada Ltd.; Grieg Seafood BC Ltd.

Project Lead: Shawn Robinson (DFO)

Project Team: Bruce MacDonald, Thierry Chopin, David Thumbi, Hannah Bradford (UNBSJ); Ben Forward (NBRPC); Chris Pearce (DFO)

Collaborators: Cooke Aquaculture Inc.

Contact: Shawn.Robinson@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

www.cimtan.ca

Craig Smith (DFO; left) helping Hannah Bradford (UNBSJ; right) to collect seawater samples to measure bacterial densities from the water column around a salmon farm. Photo: Shawn Robinson (DFO)

OPTIMIZING IMTA SPECIES COMPONENT STOCKING DENSITIES AND INFRASTRUCTURE ORIENTATION TO MAXIMIZE OVERALL SYSTEM EFFICIENCY

Expanding our knowledge of nutrient transfer within current IMTA site designs will help the industry develop their infrastructure. Developing the aquaculture of the California Sea Cucumber (Parastichopus californicus), as a benthic extractive species within IMTA systems, and addressing issues such as its containment, will be mutually beneficial to resource managers and industry partners.

To improve the sustainability of IMTA systems, extractive species’ stocking densities and infrastructure orientations need to be optimised such that they maximise the interception of fish-farm nutrients and IMTA efficiency. In order to achieve this objective, the dynamics of nutrient transfer within the site needs to be understood to choose the best configuration and species mix. On the east coast, empirical studies on flow patterns, organic particle densities, and their utilization by farmed and wild species are studied on conventional salmon and IMTA sites to provide input on a model for site efficiency. On the west coast, the project is focused on optimizing the benthic extraction of nutrients within an IMTA system using the detritus-feeding California Sea Cucumber, P. californicus. The California Sea Cucumber has been established as a promising candidate for IMTA due to its ability to extract benthic nutrients and its high market value. The potential for suspended trays within an IMTA system, as juvenile rearing habitat for P. californicus, are further examined. A suspended-tray design is being investigated in order to optimize nutrient delivery, water quality, and stocking density, while decreasing bio-fouling and addressing containment issues of juvenile P. californicus.

Jan. 2013–Dec. 2015

Funded By: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Coucil (NSERC) Strategic Network Program Co-Funded By: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO); University of New Brunswick; New Brunswick Research Productivity Council; Cooke Aquaculture Inc.; Kyuquot SEAfoods Ltd.; Marine Harvest Canada Ltd.; Grieg Seafood BC Ltd.

Project Lead: Shawn Robinson (DFO)

Project Team: Bruce MacDonald, Taryn Minch, Thierry Chopin (UNBSJ); Gregor Reid (UNBSJ, DFO); Chris Pearce (DFO); Stephen Cross, Angela Fortune (UVic)

Collaborators: Cooke Aquaculture Inc.; Kyuquot SEAfoods Ltd.

Contact: Shawn.Robinson@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

www.cimtan.ca

Juvenile California Sea Cucumber, Parastichopus californicus, found within suspended shellfish aquaculture on the west coast of British Columbia. Photo: Angela Fortune (UVic)

LOMA SALMONAE: A MICROSPORIDIAN MODEL TO HELP ASSESS TRANSMISSION DYNAMICS OF PATHOGENS WITHIN AN IMTA SETTTING

The introduction of a bivalve component alongside a salmon growing operation may provide beneficial disease reduction services. A greater understanding of disease dynamics between trophic levels is a key part of health management within integrated settings.

Our goal has been to modify an infection model for the microsporidian pathogen Loma salmonae, and use this model to evaluate the role that Blue Mussels may have to act as environmentally released spores within an IMTA setting. Specifically, asking the question of whether Blue Mussels may serve to mitigate disease transmission by deactivating spores that they encounter during feeding. The model has been successfully developed and now allows us to modify various environmental and temporal parameters. A very useful, and unexpected outcome, was the establishment of L. salmonae within cell culture. This advance will allow far greater flexibility in our studies, both as a tool for producing spores, but also for detecting them within environmental niches under study. To date, we have determined that Blue Mussels are very effective in extracting microsporidial spores from the environmnent; spores are subsequently released in pseudofeces, or feces, and small proportion of them stored for several weeks within mussel viscera. Spores are not rendered defective whether they are retained, or passed within egesta; in vitro tests of spore viability have been evaluated against the gold standard in vivo measures of infectivity.

Jan. 2010–Dec. 2015

Funded By: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Coucil (NSERC) Strategic Network Program Co-Funded By: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO); University of New Brunswick; New Brunswick Research Productivity Council; Cooke Aquaculture Inc.; Kyuquot SEAfoods Ltd.; Marine Harvest Canada Ltd.; Grieg Seafood BC Ltd.

Project Lead: Dave Speare (UPEI-AVC)

Project Team: Sarah McConnachie, Nicole Guselle (UPEI-AVC)

Contact: speare@upei.ca

www.cimtan.ca

Microsporidial spores developing within a cell-cultured xenoma. Photo: Sarah McConnachie (UPEI-AVC)

SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS OF IMTA: SOCIAL-ECOLOGICAL RESILIENCE IN BAYNES SOUND, BRITISH COLUMBIA

When asked to weigh the costs and benefits of the industry, most participants expressed uncertainty. This uncertainty may indicate ongoing struggles to balance what many feel are largely economic benefits against experiential and environmental concerns. It may also signal that participants have not yet fully formed a solidly positive or negative opinion of the industry, offering an opportunity to the shellfish industry.

As a relatively new industry, it is unclear how aquaculture affects the well-being of the social-ecological systems in which it is embedded. Baynes Sound farms produce half of all shellfish cultured in British Columbia, over 3,700 tonnes per year, and are surrounded by more than 6,500 residents on Vancouver Island and Denman Island. To ensure the ecological, economic, and social sustainability of Baynes Sound, and other social-ecological systems, the aquaculture industry must be better understood. The concept of well-being helps us move beyond simple “jobs versus the environment” understandings of effects, and provides a more holistic way to understand the preferences the residences of Baynes Sound have for social-ecological conditions and the ways in which these conditions may be enhanced or diminished by shellfish aquaculture activities.

The purpose of this research study was to identify and measure the perceived effects of shellfish aquaculture on the Baynes Sound social-ecological system. Over a three year period, we used qualitative interviews, surveys, focus groups, and a photo-voice component to answer the question: what are the mechanisms by which the activities of the shellfish aquaculture industry promote and/or erode community well-being in the Baynes Sound social-ecological system as assessed by local residents?

Jan. 2010–Dec. 2015

Funded By: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Strategic Network Program

Project Lead: Grant Murray (VIU)

Project Team: Linda D’Anna (VIU)

Contact: Grant.Murray@viu.ca

www.cimtan.ca

View of Baynes Sound, British Columbia. Photo: Brian Kingzett (VIU)