Canadian Aquaculture R&D Review 2015

Environmental Interactions

EVALUATING BEGGIATOA AND OPC AS INDICATORS OF BENTHIC HABITAT CONDITIONS ON HARD OCEAN SUBSTRATES USING VISUAL DATA COLLECTED SEASONALLY AT NEW FINFISH AQUACULTURE SITES AND NEAR THE END OF PRODUCTION AT ESTABLISHED SITES

The overall purpose of this project was to evaluate Beggiatoa (a type of aquatic bacteria) and Opportunistic Polychaete Complexes (OPC) as potential indicators of deposition around finfish aquaculture sites located over hard ocean substrates. The study was conducted on the south coast of Newfoundland (NL) and covered a wide range of substrate types from fine and medium sediments, to predominantly bedrock. Changes in abundance and diversity of benthic communities were observed in response to aquaculture waste deposition. The results of the study suggest that the status of the finfish site (baseline, production, fallow) had the strongest influence on the presence of Beggiatoa and OPCs, thereby making them acceptable indicators of the effects of aquaculture operations on the benthos. Their presence/absence correlated with other variables, including flocculent presence, off-gassing, and sulfides; however, Beggiatoa coverage did not increase linearly with sulfide level (Hamoutene, 2014). The abundance of Beggiatoa and OPC decreased as a function of distance from cage (used as a proxy for decreasing deposition) and also became patchier in distribution. The presence of indicators was observed at average distances ~70 m from cages, suggesting the need to extend sampling transects to at least 120 m (as opposed to 50 m in regulatory protocols) with stations separated by 20 to 30 m to properly delineate deposition areas.

Given the depauperate nature of some benthic environments and the persistent presence of indicators in others, more research is required to assess the effectiveness of fallowing periods as a management tool in Newfoundland.

Apr. 2011–Mar. 2015

Funded By: DFO – Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (DFO – PARR)

Project Lead: Dounia Hamoutene (DFO)

Project Team: Lee Sheppard (DFO)

Contact: Dounia.Hamoutene@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

BENTHIC MONITORING OF HARD SUBSTRATES IN SALMON AQUACULTURE: FURTHER INSIGHT ON CURRENTLY USED INDICATOR TAXA IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

The use of indicator taxa for environmental impact monitoring requires in-depth knowledge and understanding of the biology and natural history of the species used. This research adds more knowledge that policy makers can utilize to create more informed management decisions.

Two indicator taxa are currently used in benthic monitoring of hard substrate finfish aquaculture sites in British Columbia, Canada: (1) the white filamentous mat-forming bacteria Beggiatoa; and (2) Opportunistic Polychaete Complexes (OPC). Both organismal groups have been observed in areas of high enrichment, yet many questions still exist surrounding what their presence is indicating. This research set forth to learn more about each taxon, and specifically what comprises each group when video footage is taken. Beggiatoa mats were sampled to measure abundance, biomass and types, with emphasis on correlations to percent coverage estimates and environmental variables. Quantified Beggiatoa amounts were found to have little correlation to percent coverage estimations, suggesting actual amounts of living bacteria are over- or under-estimated using visual methods only. OPC groups were sampled and identified using DNA sequencing, with molecular tools created for easier identification purposes without the need of highly-specialized taxonomists.

Sep. 2012–Aug. 2014

Project Lead: Aisling Brady (NIC)

Collaborators: Creative Salmon; Marine Harvest Canada; Grieg Seafood; Cermaq; Mainstream Biological

Contact: Aisling.Brady@nic.bc.ca

http://www.nic.bc.ca/about_us/research_innovation/current_research.aspx

ASSIMILATION CAPACITY OF ORGANIC MATTER FROM SALMON AQUACULTURE (ACOM): IMPROVING MODEL PREDICTIONS OF BENTHIC IMPACTS

This research project aims to increase scientific knowledge on the impact of biochemical oxygen demanding (BOD) matter effluents across a range of benthic habitats, including soft, mixed and hard bottoms. This knowledge is intended to increase competence in the prediction of benthic impacts and in the design of related monitoring programs.

The spatial scale, magnitude and persistence of benthic effects caused by BOD matter released from fish farms are influenced by a range of factors that control effluent deposition, recycling, and transport. Potential benthic community impacts associated with the release of BOD matter from net-pens have been assessed during site development using models that do not consider the inherent capacity of different benthic habitats to mineralize (recycle) this material without altering the natural oxic state of the sediments. This organic enrichment threshold is commonly referred to as the “assimilative capacity” of the seabed. This new multidisciplinary research project aims to increase scientific expertise and knowledge on the major physical, chemical, and biological processes that collectively determine a site’s assimilative capacity. Field research programs have been designed to contribute the knowledge required to develop a new farm assessment model. The model will work with measured current data and output from an existing Finite-Volume, primitive equation Community Ocean Model (FVCOM) water circulation model to more accurately predict the spatial scale and magnitude of benthic impacts from fish farms.

Jan. 2014–Mar. 2017

Funded By: DFO – Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (DFO – PARR)

Project Lead: Peter Cranford (DFO)

Project Team: Brent Law, Fred Page, Shawn Robinson, Herb Vandermeulen, Susan Haigh, Terri Sutherland (DFO)

Collaborators: Raymond Bannister (Institute of Marine Research, Norway)

Contact: Peter.Cranford@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

DEVELOPMENT AND VALIDATION OF ALTERNATIVE DETECTION METHODS FOR PERFORMANCE INDICATORS OF THE OXIC STATE OF BOTTOM SEDIMENTS

The intended outcome from this ongoing research is an increase in confidence in aquaculture regulatory monitoring program results and related management decisions.

Potential impacts associated with biochemical oxygen demanding (BOD) matter effluents from fish farms are currently assessed by monitoring the oxic state of the bottom sediment. Performance indicators, such as total “free” sulfide concentrations and Eh, are commonly used to determine the impact of BOD matter deposits. The electrochemical method for measuring sulfide has become the standard approach for aquaculture monitoring but may be less suitable (i.e., accuracy, labour, cost, etc.) than some alternative methods that are currently available. Concerns have also been raised about the possible effects of sample storage on the accuracy of the sulfide data being collected. The purpose of this ongoing research is to evaluate alternative detection methods of BOD matter impacts that are more accurate and less prone to error while remaining practical for industry. Preliminary work has focused on the testing of a field UV spectrophotometer that can rapidly measure sulfide levels onboard the sampling vessel immediately after sample collection. This method was selected as it eliminates the need for frequent instrument calibration, requires no chemicals and avoids problems with the possible loss of sulfide during storage. Other sulfide approaches (e.g., amperometric sensors, automated methylene blue) and BOD impact indicators (dissolved oxygen) are also under study.

Jan. 2014–Mar. 2016

Funded By: DFO – Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (DFO – PARR)

Project Lead: Peter Cranford (DFO)

Project Team: Blythe Chang, Fred Page (DFO)

Contact: Peter.Cranford@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Lindsay Brager and Vanessa Zions collecting a core for assessing sediment oxic state near a salmon farm. Photo: Peter Cranford (DFO)

IMPACT OF GLOBAL WARMING ON AQUACULTURE PRODUCTION IN LES îLES-DE-LA-MADELEINE: BLUE MUSSEL, SEA SCALLOP, AND AMERICAN OYSTER

The primary objective of this project is to assess the ability of marine aquaculture production in the Îles de la Madeleines to adapt to global warming. To achieve this objective, we studied the Blue Mussel (Mytilus edulis), the American Oyster (Crassostrea virginica), and the Sea Scallop (Placopecten magellanicus).

This project seeks to better understand the impact of global warming on marine aquaculture production and studies alternatives for producers. Aquaculture production of Blue Mussels, American Oysters, and Sea Scallops, is an industry that is essential to the economy of the islands. In recent years, the people involved in this industry have noted lower numbers of organisms in culture sites within lagoons. They also note that these numbers seem to coincide with the longer duration of temperatures above 20°C, with maximum temperatures recorded in the summer. For example, between 1995 and 1997, the water temperature in lagoons exceeded 20°C for an average period of 23 days, beginning in August, whereas this period lasted 58 days between 2007 and 2009, from mid-July onward. To answer the industry’s questions about the effects of warmer waters at culture sites on production, and to help this sector deal with this new problem, it is important, as recommended by FAO, to consider alternatives that will ensure sustainable aquaculture management in the face of global warming. This research project was undertaken with these goals in mind. Its purpose is to establish connections between aquaculture yields, environmental characteristics at culture sites, trophic conditions in the environment, and individuals’ physiological condition.

Jun. 2014–Jul. 2017

Funded By: Fonds de Recherche du Québec Nature et Technologie (FRQNT); Fond d’Amorçage de Partenariat (FAP) (UQAR, Merinov)

Project Lead: Lisandre Solomon (Merinov)

Project Team: Madeleine Nadeau, technicians/workers (Merinov’s Centre des-Îles)

Collaborators: Réjean Tremblay (ISMER/UQAR)

Contact: Lisandre.Solomon@merinov.ca

Preparing equipment for sampling. Photo: Jacques Richard

ECOSYSTEM EXPERIMENT TO ASSESS ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS AND RECOVERY FROM FRESHWATER CAGE AQUACULTURE

Researchers at the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) operated an experimental Rainbow Trout farm (L375) from 2003–2007. For a period of two years prior to production, throughout production, and for two years after production, L375 and the control lake (L373) were closely monitored. By the fourth and fifth years of fish production, there was a substantial decrease in benthic invertebrate density and diversity along the entire 100 m transect from the fish cage, and increases in water column total phosphorus and algal production. The wild Lake Trout population in L375 responded to cage culture with improved condition, increased survival, increased reproduction, and over the 5 years of production, the population size nearly doubled. The forage fish community, which was not as closely monitored as Lake Trout, showed increased catch per unit effort for many species. The purpose of this extension to the project is to enable researchers to continue the monitoring of the recovery of those ecosystem components that showed the most response to aquaculture activities. Of these, the effects of aquaculture on sediments are currently of particular interest due to the intention of regulatory agencies to add sediment monitoring to commercial cage license conditions. The monitoring of the recovery of sediments under the ELA farm will provide a valuable opportunity to measure the rate of removal of waste material through assimilative processes.

Apr. 2010–Mar. 2014

Funded By: DFO – Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (DFO – ACRDP) Co-Funded By: Northern Ontario Aquaculture Association (NOAA)

Project Lead: Cheryl Podemski (DFO)

Collaborators: Northern Ontario Aquaculture Association (NOAA)

Contact: Cheryl.Podemski@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/acrdp-pcrda/index-eng.htm

INTERACTIONS BETWEEN OFFSHORE MUSSEL CULTURE AND COMMERCIALLY IMPORTANT SPECIES: EVALUATION OF INDIRECT EFFECTS

Benthic macrofauna (e.g., crabs, flounder, lobster) are often more abundant in mussel culture sites than in areas surrounding them. It is unknown what effects this has on the productivity of these organisms. It has been suggested that changes in infaunal communities (the worms, clams, and so on that live in bottom sediments) due to organic loading from mussel culture may have cascading effects on the animals that eat these organisms. This study is evaluating the indirect effects of mussel culture on crabs and flounder through a series of manipulative experiments. In short, a series of cages were set up on the sea floor below an offshore mussel farm and in areas outside of the farm in Îles de la Madeleine, Quebec. Another experimental set-up used cages on the bottom in which organic loading rates were modified to alter benthic communities. In both cases, crabs or flounder were placed in the cages, allowed to feed on existing resources for about 1 week, and then sampled to evaluate what the organisms eat in the different areas using gut content analysis. We then determined how the available resources influenced their instantaneous growth rates by using biochemical indicators (RNA:DNA ratios) and measuring otolith (fish inner ear bone) growth rates. This work will determine if mussel sites solely aggregate benthic macrofauna or if the sites may also have cascading effects on their productivity.

Apr. 2013–Mar. 2016

Funded By: DFO – Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (DFO – ACRDP) Co-Funded By: La Société de développement de l’industrie maricole (SODIM); Ressources Aquatiques Québec (RAQ); Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR)

Project Lead: Annick Drouin (DFO)

Project Team: Chris McKindsey, Andrea Weise (DFO); Philippe Archambault, Céline Audet (ISMER – Institut des Science de la Mer de Rimouski); Pascal Sirois (UQAC – Université du Québec à Chicoutimi); Christian Vigneau (La moule du large Inc.)

Contact: Annick.Drouin@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

A lobster checks out an experimental mesocom in Îles de la Madeleine. Photo: Chris McKindsey (DFO)

THE DEVELOPMENT OF A ROBUST METHODOLOGY FOR SULPHIDE PROBE CALIBRATION

Environmental monitoring of finfish aquaculture industries in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and British Columbia relies on the measurement of sediment sulphide concentrations to detect adverse environmental impacts from finfish farming over soft-sediment substrates. There are often, however, wide variations in sulphide values taken from samples at the same farm and even among triplicate subsamples taken under the same cage. These differences may be due to the variability in sulphide probe calibrations. The aim of this project was to develop a methodology for consistent sulphide probe calibration. Laboratory studies were conducted on the different parameters that were thought to be contributing to the variability observed in probe calibration. Standardization of procedures developed through this project are helping to ensure that the use of sulphide probes in environmental monitoring for the Canadian finfish aquaculture industry is as consistent, reliable, and accurate as possible.

The results from this study have contributed to clarifying some issues related to the methodology for sulphide probe calibration. However, other questions remain and this research will be continued to include additional work on laboratory protocols, as well as to examine issues related to sediment sample collection, transport, storage, handling, and analysis.

Apr. 2013–Mar. 2014

Funded By: DFO – Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (DFO – ACRDP) Co-Funded By: Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association (ACFFA); Sweeney International Marine Corp. (SIMCorp)

Project Lead: Blythe Chang (DFO)

Collaborators: Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association (ACFFA); Sweeney International Marine Corp. (SIMCorp)

Contact: Blythe.Chang@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/acrdp-pcrda/index-eng.htm

Photo shows sulfide probe, temperature probe, meter (left to right). Photo: Fred Page (DFO)

THE DEVELOPMENT OF ROBUST METHODOLOGY FOR SULFIDE PROBE CALIBRATION AND SEDIMENT SAMPLING

The results of this project can contribute to the development of a reliable, accurate, consistent, and robust methodology for sediment sampling, which could be adopted by Provincial regulators.

Environmental monitoring of marine finfish aquaculture operations in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and British Columbia rely on the measurement of sulfide concentrations in sediment (within farm leases) as the fundamental indicator of adverse environmental impacts from finfish farming at soft bottom sites. Government departments in NB, NS, and BC have established their own Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to evaluate the aquaculture industry’s environmental impact. Comparisons among the SOPs indicate several differences among regions, which c ould lead to differing results.

Previous research has revealed that the standard solutions (“standards”) used in sediment sulfide monitoring degrade significantly over time and that probe accuracy also degrades over time (post-calibration). These results suggest the need for additional research on sediment sulfide methodologies including possible changes in probe accuracy following their use in sediments with high sulfide concentrations and the effects of salinity on these standards. This research project will also examine potential sources of error related to the methods used in the collection, storage, transportation, and handling of sediment samples.

Apr. 2014–Mar. 2016

Funded By: DFO – Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (DFO – ACRDP) Co-Funded By: Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association (ACFFA); Sweeney International Marine Corp. (SIMCorp)

Project Lead: Blythe Chang (DFO)

Project Team: David Wong, Kenneth MacKeigan, Monica Lyons, Fred Page, Ed Parker, Nathan Blasco (DFO); Bob Sweeney, Leah Lewis-McCrea, Tara Daggett, Amanda Smith, Janelle Arsenault (SIMCorp); Jessica Whitehead (NSDFA); Troy Lyons (NB DELG); Betty House (ACFFA)

Collaborators: Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association (ACFFA); Sweeney International Marine Corp. (SIMCorp)

Contact: Blythe.Chang@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/acrdp-pcrda/index-eng.htm

CAN HARD CLAMS (MERCENARIA MERCENARIA) INCREASE THE RATE OF EELGRASS (ZOSTERA MARINA) RECOVERY IN AREAS IMPACTED BY OYSTER AQUACULTURE?

The strategies tested in this study may promote the development of environmentally- friendly practices for the aquaculture industry by mitigating the negative impacts of active leases and eliminating the impacts of those sites no longer in use.

Eelgrass communities are declining in many areas of the world, mainly due to increased inputs of nutrients and sediments from land-based sources, but also due to shading from aquaculture structures. Enhancement activities such as manual seed dispersal and transplanting whole plants have been explored to help counter eelgrass habitat declines, but with limited success at a substantial cost. Bivalves have been found to stimulate eelgrass growth by clarifying the water column, thereby increasing light availability and increasing nitrogen levels through the production of waste products (faeces, pseudofaeces). This project aims to determine whether the seeding of hard clams (Mercenaria mercenaria) can enhance eelgrass recovery in areas impacted by oyster aquaculture. Various densities of hard clams will be introduced to areas with bare or sparse patches of eelgrass due to shading from previous commercial off-bottom oyster operations. Sediment characteristics, such as porosity (the empty space between sediment particles), organic content, and carbon/nitrogen levels will be monitored along with the growth and recovery of the eelgrass over three years. Additionally, clams will be sown directly under lines of suspended oyster bags at an active aquaculture site, to determine if their presence will encourage the growth of eelgrass populations in this heavily-impacted area.

Apr. 2014–Mar. 2017

Funded By: DFO – Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (DFO – ACRDP) Co-Funded By: L’Étang Ruisseau Bar Ltd.

Project Lead: Monica Boudreau (DFO)

Project Team: André Mallet (L’Étang Ruisseau Bar Ltd.); Claire Carver (Carver Marine Consulting); Marie-Hélène Thériault (DFO)

Collaborators: L’Étang Ruisseau Bar Ltd.

Contact: Monica.Boudreau@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/acrdp-pcrda/index-eng.htm

Oysters on the seafloor in an eelgrass bed. Photo: Luc Comeau (DFO)

DEVELOPING THE BENTHIC COMPONENT OF IMTA TO REDUCE THE IMPACT OF ORGANIC NUTRIENTS FROM FISH FARMS AND EVOLVING STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES

This project will provide basic information on the feasibility for the development of the benthic component for IMTA where it is anticipated that the bulk of the assimilation of waste IMTA nutrients will occur.

Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) has been developing over the last decade in Canada and has mostly focused on the pelagic component. While the pelagic filter feeding role has a place in the IMTA system for economic diversification and some assistance in the control of fine particulates, pathogens, and parasites affecting the farm, they are not capable of feeding on the larger particle sizes where the bulk of the waste nutrients reside. The larger particles can be consumed by benthic species which still have to be developed for IMTA systems. The goal of this project is to investigate the production of three candidate species for the benthic component: the Green Sea Urchin (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis), the Northern Sea Cucumber (Cucumaria frondosa), and the Sea Scallop (Placopecten magellanicus). These organisms will be studied for their ability to successfully exploit the organic nutrients coming from salmon farms as well as the efficiency of various containment structures (e.g., cages and nets) to house them. In addition to the basic culture information for the species, baseline data will also be gathered on the presence of any known fish pathogens that may be associated with IMTA practices for these species. The small, experimental crop that is produced during this research will be evaluated for product safety and marketing attributes.

Apr. 2014–Mar. 2017

Funded By: DFO – Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (DFO – ACRDP) Co-Funded By: Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd.

Project Lead: Shawn Robinson (DFO)

Project Team: Terralynn Lander, Craig Smith (DFO)

Collaborators: Keng Pee Ang (Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd.)

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

www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/acrdp-pcrda/index-eng.htm

Fiberglass plates that will be used for the settling of larval sea urchins once they are produced in the hatchery and are ready for metamorphosis. Photo: Shawn Robinson (DFO)

Close-up of the diatoms coating the juvenile settling tank plates. Photo: Shawn Robinson (DFO)

WATER CIRCULATION, TRANSPORT, AND DISPERSAL IN GRAND MANAN ISLAND

Results of this research will be useful for bay management designations in the area and will inform decisions regarding fish health related to the management of parasites such as sea lice, as well as diseases and viruses including Infectious Salmon Anemia Virus (ISAV).

The majority of salmon farms in the eastern Grand Manan Island area (New Brunswick) were stocked in 2013. Having large numbers of fish stocked in this area has raised some questions about possible impacts to fish health management of the aquaculture industry and interactions with traditional fisheries. Under this research project, researchers collected additional oceanographic data using current meters to provide important information about water circulation, transport, and dispersal of disease vectors, parasites, and treatment products in the area.

This project has resulted in improved understanding of water circulation in the eastern Grand Manan Island area. This will inform decisions regarding Aquaculture Bay Management Area boundaries, farm production levels, and aquaculture-fisheries interactions. The improved knowledge on water circulation will also aid in fish health management, including determining timing of treatments for sea lice. Future work should look at seasonal variations, as well as explore other geographical areas.

Apr. 2013–Mar. 2014

Funded By: DFO – Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (DFO – ACRDP) Co-Funded By: Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association (ACFFA)

Project Lead: Blythe Chang (DFO)

Collaborators: Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association (ACFFA)

Contact: Blythe.Chang@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/acrdp-pcrda/index-eng.htm

Screen capture of an animation… showing the current speed and direction at five current meter deployment locations, at three different depths: near surface; mid depth (six meters below the surface); and near bottom. The animation utilizes actual current meter data and cycles over one tidal cycle (12.4 hours), starting just after midnight on April 9th, 2014. Animation credit: Randy Losier (DFO)

PREDICTIVE MODELING FOR PARALYTIC SHELLFISH POISONING IN BAYNES SOUND, BRITISH COLUMBIA

The results of this research will help improve the overall sustainability of the aquaculture industry in British Columbia (BC) by facilitating decision making by the department on aquaculture siting, as well as allowing the aquaculture industry to plan harvests and avoid costly product recalls.

Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) is a potentially lethal condition that is caused by the consumption of shellfish which have concentrated paralytic shellfish toxins (PST) from phytoplankton. This project explored the development of a predictive model to help identify and predict where and when phytoplankton blooms might occur. Various environmental and hydrographic data relevant to Baynes Sound, BC, were compiled and relationships between these factors and PSP events were evaluated using statistical analyses (correlations). The most important factors in predicting PSP levels were time of the year, salinity, and rainfall pattern. Specifically, the amount of measurable rain that fell three and four days prior to sampling was found to correlate with PSP levels. The PSP hindcast model predictions were shown to be accurate 97% of the time, making this a valuable real-time tool to help identify periods of increased risk to shellfish culture.

Apr. 2011–Mar. 2014

Funded By: DFO – Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (DFO – ACRDP) Co-Funded By: Mac’s Oysters Ltd.

Project Lead: Anya Dunham (DFO); Rob Marshall (Mac’s Oysters Ltd.)

Project Team: Gordy McLellan, Rob Marshall (Mac’s Oysters Ltd.)

Collaborators: Mac’s Oysters Ltd.

Contact: Anya.Dunham@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/acrdp-pcrda/index-eng.htm

Aerial view of Bayne’s Sound, BC. Photo: Gordy McLellan (Mac’s Oysters Ltd.)

Shellfish raft aquaculture in Metcalf Bay, BC. Photo: Robert Marshall

EVALUATION OF BENTHIC FAR-FIELD AND SITE RECOVERY EFFECTS FROM AQUACULTURE WITHIN THE LETANG INLET, NEW BRUNSWICK

The research is expected to yield information on the status of the far-field benthic environment within the Letang Inlet’s aquaculture region in a temporal and spatial context before and after the implementation of Bay Management practises. New data will also shed light on long-term recovery at a site with discontinued farm operations.

The Letang Inlet, within the lower Bay of Fundy, is a marine tidal inlet where aquaculture of marine fish, specifically Atlantic Salmon, has occurred since the 1980s. A multi-year project (2012–2016) is being undertaken in cooperation with industry, government, and NGOs to evaluate far-field effects of salmon aquaculture in view of a baseline study undertaken in the 1990s within the same area. The objective is to document, compare, and evaluate current conditions with those of two decades earlier in light of various mitigating measures undertaken since, including the reduction of operational sites, establishment of treatment sites and protocols, and bay management fallowing procedures.

The study is based on benthic macrofaunal assemblages and environmental parameters sampled annually in the fish farming areas of Limekiln Bay and Bliss Harbour, and an un-farmed reference area. The work encompasses a full fallowing cycle in order to evaluate the potential effects of operating years 2013 and 2014 on Bay-wide cessation of operations within the Letang Inlet in 2012 and 2015. In addition, an assessment of long term recovery at a single site not in operation since 1998, but within an area of intense fish farm farming, will be undertaken using base line data from 1995–2000.

Mar. 2012–Apr. 2016

Funded By: DFO – Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (DFO – ACRDP) Co-Funded By: Northern Harvest Sea Farms

Project Lead: Andrew Cooper (DFO); Gerhard Pohle (Huntsman Marine Science Centre)

Project Team: Rebecca Milne, Lou Van Guelpen (Huntsman Marine Science Centre); Marc Blanchard (DFO); Robert H. Findlay (U Alabama); K. Robert Clarke (Plymouth Marine Laboratory); Karl Whelan (Eastern Charlotte Waterways)

Collaborators: Larry Ingalls (Northern Harvest Sea farms)

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

www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/acrdp-pcrda/index-eng.htm

Gerhard Pohle taking a water sample during field work on board the Viola M. Davidson. Photo: Andrew Cooper (DFO)

VALIDATION OF DEPOMOD WITH A COMPARISON OF VISUAL TECHNIQUES FOR OBSERVING SPATIAL AND TEMPORAL VARIABILITY IN THE BENTHOS AT ACTIVE AND FALLOWED FINFISH SITES IN NEWFOUNDLAND

The majority of Newfoundland finfish aquaculture sites are located in deep waters over hard bottom substrates. The current monitoring programs were based on the assumption that these sites would not be depositional. As organic deposition has been found to accumulate at some sites, this study aimed to evaluate the depositional model DEPOMOD (and the data inputs required for this model) as a monitoring tool for finfish aquaculture sites in Newfoundland.

Water current speeds in the study area were found to be quite variable. Using DEPOMOD predictions, carbon deposition was expected to be highest at the edge of the cage array, with drastically decreased deposition at 25 m away and further. Small amounts of deposition were also predicted at 50 m and 100 m from t he cage. Additionally, a variety of physical and biological processes (food and water content, food digestibility, carbon content of food and feces, and settling velocity for food waste and for feces) were identified and varied within the depositional model.

While DEPOMOD has been shown to be a potentially useful tool in predicting organic deposition on hard bottom sites, further analysis should be done at additional sites and throughout different stages in the production periods to further validate its use under a wider variety of environmental conditions found in Newfoundland.

Apr. 2010–Mar. 2013

Funded By: DFO – Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (DFO – ACRDP) Co-Funded By: Northern Harvest Sea Farms; Cold Ocean Salmon Inc.

Project Lead: Andry Ratsimandresy (DFO)

Collaborators: Northern Harvest Sea Farms; Cold Ocean Salmon Inc.

Contact: Andry.Ratsimandresy@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/acrdp-pcrda/index-eng.htm

FRESHWATER FINFISH CAGE AQUACULTURE: DEVELOPMENT OF SEDIMENT BIOGEOCHEMICAL INDICATORS FOR REGULATION OF FRESHWATER CAGE AQUACULTURE

Benthic macroinvertebrates contribute to chemical and microbial in-sediment processes. They play a major role in waste assimilation and the transfer of carbon and energy from aquaculture waste to higher trophic levels within lake ecosystems. The deposition of biochemical oxygen demanding (BOD) matter from freshwater finfish cage farms impacts directly on the abundance and diversity of benthic invertebrate assemblages found in the immediate vicinity of the cage. Benthic invertebrates are typically used as indicators of benthic condition, however, sample collection and taxonomic identification within a monitoring program framework is both time consuming and costly. The objective of this project is to identify biogeochemical thresholds associated with major changes in abundance and community structure, which can be used to develop regulatory thresholds to manage deposit of aquaculture waste at levels that would maintain an acceptable degree of benthic alteration.

This knowledge will support the assessment of risk associated with the deposits of BOD material, and will contribute to the development of regulatory standards and monitoring protocols for aquaculture-affected sediments. It will also be of use in informing fallowing practices for freshwater aquaculture by identifying potential sediment recovery targets.

Mar. 2015–Mar. 2017

Funded By: DFO – Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (DFO – PARR)

Project Lead: Cheryl Podemski (DFO)

Project Team: Megan Otu, Cyndi Wlasichuk, Jian Zhang, Doug Geiling (DFO)

Contact: Cheryl.Podemski@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

INFLUENCE OF EASTERN OYSTER AQUACULTURE ON EELGRASS POPULATIONS AND THEIR RECOVERY

Oyster culture in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, New Brunswick occurs almost exclusively in near-shore waters of bays and estuaries (in water depths of less than 5 metres), a range that directly overlaps with eelgrass (Zostera marina) habitat. Increased shading associated with oyster culture activities has been shown to negatively impact eelgrass growth and survival. This project aimed to determine the extent and rate of recovery of eelgrass exposed to suspended bag and bottom table oyster culture in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence in order to develop best management practices for minimizing impacts to the benthic habitat.

No substantial signs of recovery were evident 216, 632 or 794 days after removal of oyster aquaculture equipment for suspended bags, table culture at existing sites, or table culture at new aquaculture sites, respectively. Small canopy heights, however, were noted for certain groups, indicating that seeding recruitment did occur; however it did not appear that recruited seedlings survived to maturity. More research is required to fully evaluate this finding.

This study has provided crucial information on the spatial and temporal extent of eelgrass recovery exposed to excessive benthic shading from both suspended bag and bottom table oyster culture in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. The knowledge gained through this research will aid in the development of best management practices to minimize and mitigate the effects of oyster aquaculture. It will also guide the best placement of oyster tables in successive years to minimize the cumulative impacts to the benthic habitat (specifically eelgrass).

Apr. 2010–Mar. 2013

Funded By: DFO – Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP) Co-Funded By: L’Étang Ruisseau Bar Ltd.

Project Lead: Marie-Hélène Thériault, Simon Courtenay (DFO)

Collaborators: L’Étang Ruisseau Bar Ltd.; SK Environmental & Communications Group

Contact: Simon.Courtenay@dfo-mpo.gc.ca and Marie-Helene.Theriault@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/acrdp-pcrda/index-eng.htm

Suspended oyster aquaculture site in St-Simon Bay, New Brunswick. Photo: Marc Skinner (DFO)

TO VALIDATE THE ROBUSTNESS OF THE ECOSYSTEM CARRYING CAPACITY MODELS BEING DEVELOPED FOR ST. PETER’S BAY

The goal of the project is to assess whether the removal of phytoplankton by densely stocked mussels in St. Peter’s Bay (PEI) has exceeded the capacity of the ecosystem to renew phytoplankton populations. In this project, the robustness of the models developed as part in a previous study will be validated in Malpeque Bay. Although the total area allocated to mussel farming is similar in the two bays (~ 600 ha), the watershed volume is higher in Malpeque Bay (592,000,000 m3 vs. 40,000,000 m3). Other distinctive features include an intricate river system running into Malpeque, and multiple connection points between Malpeque and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Together these features represent a challenging and therefore suitable environment to validate the ongoing development of ecosystem models for shellfish aquaculture. A second rationale for the project relates to the management of aquaculture in a proactive manner. The PEI Lease Management Board is engaged in a planning exercise regarding any future releases of acreage in Malpeque Bay for mussel culture. The results from this project will help identify the optimal distribution and configuration of new leases within the bay.

Apr. 2011–Mar. 2014

Funded By: DFO – Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (DFO – PARR)

Project Lead: Luc Comeau (DFO)

Project Team: Michel Starr, Liliane St-Amand, Thomas Guyondet, Rémi Sonier (DFO); Jonathan Grant, Ramón Filgueira (Dalhousie U)

Contact: Luc.Comeau@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

INVESTIGATING TEMPORAL VARIABILITY IN MACROFAUNAL RECOVERY PROCESSES DURING FALLOW PERIODS AT FINFISH AQUACULTURE SITES IN NEWFOUNDLAND

The Newfoundland salmon farming industry is located primarily in the Coast of Bays region, on the south coast of the island. This area is characterized by fjords of over 100 m in depth and protected bays, with benthic substrates characterized by rock and cobble along with patchy areas of deposition. The study utilized visual surveys of the seafloor (using video transect sampling as an alternative to sediment-based techniques) to assess aquaculture impacts on the benthos within the challenging Newfoundland environment.

The video transect data revealed that the natural benthic macrofaunal communities in the south coast of Newfoundland are characterized by low abundances, however, organic enrichment from aquaculture was found to cause changes in the benthic environment. These changes were complex and highly variable, likely dependent on farming practices, environmental factors, and the capacity of the environment to process organic material.

This research has provided confirmation that benthic macrofaunal communities in Newfoundland are primarily living on rocky and patchy substrates. Additionally, it has revealed novel information on some recovery processes of the benthic community in deep water, hard substrate aquaculture sites. Further investigation is needed on lengths and usefulness of fallow periods in light of the low natural abundances of some benthic communities in Newfoundland. The results of this research will help inform regulation and support the sustainability of the Canadian aquaculture industry.

Apr. 2011–Mar. 2014

Funded By: DFO – Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (DFO – ACRDP) Co-Funded By: Cold Ocean Salmon; Northern Harvest Sea Farms

Project Lead: Dounia Hamoutene (DFO)

Collaborators: Cold Ocean Salmon; Northern Harvest Sea Farms

Contact: Dounia.Hamoutene@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/acrdp-pcrda/index-eng.htm

Sampling design for production, control, and fallow sites. The dots represent locations where underwater video was recorded.

Photo taken during DFO field research in the Coast of Bays region of Newfoundland. Photo: Kimberley Burt (DFO)

THE EFFECT OF CULTURED FILTER FEEDERS ON EELGRASS PRODUCTIVITY IN ESTUARIES OF NEW BRUNSWICK AND PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

The complex nature of interactions in the coastal zone between farmed and wild stocks of American Oyster and Blue Mussels, and nutrient dynamics, can obscure the net habitat effects of bivalve aquaculture on habitats (CSAS-SAR 2006/005). Environmental effects of shellfish aquaculture on eelgrass and its function as fish habitat are associated with sedimentation, turbidity/shading, nutrients, flow patterns, and physical damage or removal. Shading from oyster aquaculture gear has been associated with a reduction in eelgrass productivity at a local scale. However, there is a knowledge gap related to potential counteracting effects of cultured bivalve biomass in improving the overall eelgrass productivity by influencing bay scale turbidity patterns resulting from natural and cumulative anthropogenic sources.

This study will examine the effects of cultured bivalves on eelgrass productivity at a bay scale. This will be achieved through field studies by characterizing the landscape and seascapes of four cultured bays with a focus on shellfish populations (wild and cultured) and eelgrass beds. A laboratory study will evaluate the rates at which mussels and oysters filter water, and the resulting effect on turbidity, seston, and light attenuation. Modifications to the existing hydrodynamic models will be developed for the region to include turbidity, sedimentation, and re-suspension. It will also incorporate the results of the lab-derived clearance rates of mussels and oysters, to allow for estimates of bay-scale effects from existing (or proposed) shellfish leases.

Mar. 2014–Mar. 2017

Funded By: DFO – Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (DFO – PARR)

Project Lead: Marc Ouellette (DFO)

Project Team: Monique Niles, Thomas Guyondet, Thomas Landry (DFO)

Collaborators: Tim Webster, Kate Collins (AGRG-NSCC)

Contact: Marc.Ouellette@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

EVALUATING THE EFFICACY OF THE FALLOWING PERIOD AS A MITIGATION TOOL AT THE PREDOMINANTLY HARD-BOTTOM AQUACULTURE SITES IN NEWFOUNDLAND

This project sets out to examine the recovery processes at aquaculture sites undergoing different periods of fallowing by evaluating how the length of the fallowing period influences the distribution of the bio-indicators, Beggiatoa and Opportunistic Polychaete Complexes (OPC). Results of the CSAS process, ‘Potential Impacts of Finfish Aquaculture on Hard Bottom Substrates and Development of a Standardized Monitoring Protocol’ (CSAS-SAR 2014/017) indicated that these were acceptable indicators of organic deposition over a range of substrates. This study will also examine changes in flocculent matter and impacts on non-indicator species change during fallowing. The biological basis of changes in OPC distribution during fallowing will be examined to determine if Beggiatoa and OPC distributions change in a predictable manner across aquaculture sites on the south coast of Newfoundland. Multivariate statistics will be used to characterize important factors associated with changes in the distribution of bio-indicators and the composition of epifauna.

The outcome of this research will improve our understanding of the processes of fallowing in the Newfoundland and Labrador Region. In particular, the results will shed light on the degree of benthic recovery associated with various lengths of fallowing, the biological processes underlying OPC dynamics in association with organic matter degradation, and the efficacy of fallowing as a mitigation strategy in the region.

Aug. 2014–Mar. 2015

Funded By: DFO – Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (DFO – PARR)

Project Lead: Dounia Hamoutene (DFO)

Collaborators: Flora Salvo (DFO); Suzanne Dufour (MUN); Robert Sweeney (Sweeney International Marine Corp., SIMCorp Marine Environmental)

Contact: Dounia.Hamoutene@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

MANAGEMENT OF HUSBANDRY PRACTICES TO MAINTAIN WATER COLUMN ENVIRONMENTAL CARRYING CAPACITY FOR BIVALVE CULTURE

Coastal regions are subject to multiple pressures (fishing, waste water discharge, agricultural run-off) and are a major provider of goods and services. Bivalve aquaculture, in addition to food production, may also yield other benefits such as the bioremediation of eutrophication symptoms due to excessive nutrient run-off. St. Peter’s Bay on the north coast of Prince Edward Island (PEI), where mussel culture occupies 40% of bay area, served as a case study in this project. The goal was to investigate the combine effects of climate change, nutrient loadings and mussel aquaculture pressures. Several scenarios mixing different climatic conditions, nutrient run-off levels, and cultured mussel stocks were reproduced using a spatially explicit coupled hydrodynamic-biogeochemical. Annually, mussel meat harvesting extracts nitrogen (N) resources equivalent to 42% of river inputs or 46.5% of the net phytoplankton primary production. Under such extractive pressure, the phytoplankton biomass is being curtailed to 1980’s levels when aquaculture was not yet developed and N loading was half the present level. A climate change scenario (year 2050) predicted a 30% increase in mussel production but also predicted elevated summer temperatures (>25 °C) that may have deleterious physiological effects on cultured mussels and possibly increase summer mortality levels.

This project showed the potential of mussel culture as a bioremediation tool for excessive nutrient run-off in Atlantic Canada coastal regions, which is already acknowledge in many places around the world. Results of the climate change scenario provide valuable information for adapting the management of coastal ecosystem resources and services, while these changes are occurring.

Apr. 2010–Mar. 2013

Funded By: DFO – Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (DFO – PARR)

Project Lead: Thomas Guyondet (DFO)

Project Team: Luc Comeau, Rémi Sonier, Ramón Filgueira (DFO)

Collaborators: Jonathan Grant (Dalhousie U); Cédric Bacher (IFREMER), Rune Rosland (U Bergen)

Contact: Thomas.Guyondet@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

COMPARING THE IMPACT OF BOTTOM AND SUSPENDED OYSTER CULTURE ON BAY-SCALE FOOD RESOURCES (FOXLEY/TROUT RIVER, PEI)

Oyster aquaculture in Prince Edward Island (PEI) is changing from traditional bottom to suspended culture methods. There are several advantages to suspending oyster stocks in the upper water column. This strategy protects stock from benthic predators and enhances growth by positioning oysters in a relatively warm and elevated food flux environment. In addition, oysters grown in suspension have a tendency to develop round shells ornamented with radial ridges and foliated processes. By contrast, oysters grown on soft, muddy bottoms tend to develop elongated and sparsely ornamented shells.

Several lease holders in the Trout River (PEI) system are seeking to convert from bottom to suspended culture. To improve the parameterization of carrying capacity models, this project evaluated whether bottom and suspended oysters compete for the same food resources within the system. Fatty acid analyses revealed that microalgae is the major (70%) dietary constituent, regardless of the culture technique. However, bottom oysters consumed more diatoms and less flagellates when compared to suspended oysters. Therefore an oyster’s diet is dependent in part upon the cultivation technique.

Apr. 2012–Mar. 2014

Funded By: DFO – Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (DFO – PARR)

Project Lead: Rémi Sonier (DFO)

Project Team: Luc Comeau, Claudio DiBacco (DFO); Réjean Tremblay (UQAR)

Contact: Remi.Sonier@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

DOSE-RESPONSE RELATIONSHIPS FOR MUSSEL CULTURE AND BENTHIC CONDITIONS

Much work has shown that suspended bivalve culture has a variety of effects on benthic communities and sediment conditions due to the accumulation of biodeposits (faeces and pseudofaeces) on the seafloor in farm areas and areas immediately surrounding farms. However, dose (biodeposition rates)-response (benthic condition – in terms of benthic communities and biogeochemical indicators of these) are not well described. In this study, we evaluate dose-response relationships for mussel biodeposition and benthic conditions using manipulative experiments. In short, cages (mesocosms) were installed on the seafloor and supplemented with different levels of biodeposits. These cages allow recruitment of benthic invertebrates to occur, allowing the influence of biodeposition on benthic communities to be better understood. Benthic communities and a series of biogeochemical indicators were measured from the cages two to three months after setting up the experiments. The work was done in both Îles de la Madeleine, Quebec, and Prince Edward Island, which differ substantially in terms of background levels of eutrophication. Results from this work adds to work being done in related studies on mussel biodeposit production, modelling of biodeposits dispersal, and benthic sampling for benthic communities and sediment biogeochemical conditions in both locations. Together, these projects will allow a better prediction of bivalve culture environmental carrying capacity for the benthic environment and to better plan husbandry options to maintain a given benthic condition.

Apr. 2010–Mar. 2014

Funded By: DFO – Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (DFO – PARR)

Project Lead: Chris McKindsey (DFO)

Project Team: Andréa Weise (DFO); Michel Fournier (Moules de culture des Îles Inc.); Stephen Fortune (PEI Cultured Mussel Growers Association)

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

Influence of increasing levels of biodeposition on benthic sediments in Îles de la Madeleine. Photo: Chris McKindsey/Andréa Weise (DFO).

BIOMASS OF THE BENTHIC INVERTEBRATE COMMUNITY AROUND FRESHWATER AQUACULTURE FARMS

The species composition of benthic invertebrates is known to change in the presence of elevated organic matter deposition generated by cage culture. However, determining the net effects of community change can be challenging, whereas biomass change can be quantified and differences presented in g/m2. Benthos exposed to different deposition rates under and around farms can change from enhanced to inhibited growth and abundance. The aim of this project is to measure the benthic invertebrate biomass around farms and compared it to reference sites. Here we will present these differences at three commercial Rainbow Trout sites to understand the net effects of aquaculture on the benthic community. The results of the study will inform the current Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Fisheries Protection Program assessment of risk of freshwater finfish farms.

Apr. 2013–Mar. 2015

Funded By: DFO – Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (DFO – PARR)

Project Lead: Cheryl Podemski (DFO)

Project Team: Megan Otu, Jian Zhang (DFO)

Collaborators: Northern Ontario Aquaculture Association; Coldwater Fisheries; Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food

Contact: Cheryl.Podemski@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

http://www.science.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=7024BC3C-1

Aquatic worm (Oligochaeta) commonly found in freshwater lake sediments. Image taken under stereomicroscope (10X magnification).

DEVELOPMENT OF MANAGEMENT ZONES FOR FINFISH AQUACULTURE IN BRITISH COLUMBIA. PHASE 1: DATA COLLECTION AND EVALUATION. PHASE 2: INFORMATION INTEGRATION TO PROVIDE ADVICE AND RECOMMENDATIONS IN SUPPORT OF FINFISH AQUACULTURE MANAGEMENT

This project will provide science advice to enable decision makers to fully consider environmental and operations issues during the process of identifying the locations and creating the boundaries of operational plans. Issues such as farm production, disease transfer and/or control, wild-farm sea lice interactions, and others may be important components. The project’s first phase is to collect, organise, and document existing scientific data, relevant to finfish aquaculture, into appropriate management zones in southern BC. The second phase of the project will apply the information gathered in Phase 1 to support the development of the interim Integrated Management of Aquaculture Plans (IMAPs). Scientific advice will be provided to help fill knowledge gaps, define ecosystem health indicators, and evaluate the local and regional impacts to determine the carrying capacity of finfish aquaculture. In addition, Phase 2 will integrate the knowledge base developed from Phase 1 with other Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) research programs in BC, including the identification of ecologically and biologically significant areas, and the Strait of Georgia Ecosystem Research Initiative.

Apr. 2011–Mar. 2013

Funded By: DFO – Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (DFO – PARR)

Project Lead: Peter Chandler (DFO)

Project Team: Mike Foreman, Jon Chamberlain, Roy Hourston (DFO)

Contact: Peter.Chandler@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

EXPLORATION OF METHODOLOGIES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS MONITORING OF FINFISH AQUACULTURE SITES IN SANDY BOTTOM ENVIRONMENTS WITH NATURAL DISTURBANCES: SHELBURNE, NOVA SCOTIA

The project will contribute to a better understanding of the limitations of existing methods and models and provide the basis for better informed and more extensive proposals focused on the development of survey, monitoring, and modelling approaches for this type of environment. Existing and proposed finfish sites in parts of Nova Scotia are located on sandy bottoms that experience annual disturbance by near-bottom currents generated by offshore waves. Current regulatory benthic sampling techniques (cores and light weight grabs) and models (DEPOMOD) used to monitor and predict deposition and benthic degradation have been developed for muddy bottoms. The suitability of these approaches for sandy disturbed environments is scientifically uncertain (Hargrave, 2010) and has been questioned by Nova Scotia provincial authorities and aquaculture consultants (DFO 2011 – DEPOMOD CSAS).

The purpose of this project is to test several benthic sampling approaches, including: grab samplers; Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) camera systems; acoustic echo sounder; side-scan sonar systems; monitoring the water current and wave environment during the anticipated disturbance season (fall-winter); analyze sediments (and acoustic signals, where appropriate) for bottom type, grain size, organic matter, and sulphide content; gather water column density profile information (i.e., CTD profiles); and run DEPOMOD scenarios for currents representing the disturbance season. As an extension to the project, sediment re-suspension and transport models will be incorporated into the FVCOM and fine-tuned for the Shelburne area.

Apr. 2012–Mar. 2016

Funded By: DFO – Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (DFO – PARR)

Project Lead: Blythe Chang, Fred Page (DFO)

Project Team: Mark McLean, Ed Parker, Randy Losier, Brent Law, Herb Vandermuelen, Sara Scouten, Susan Haigh, Adam Drosdowski, Vanessa Page (DFO)

Contact: Blythe.Chang@dfo-mpo.gc.ca, Fred.Page@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

DEVELOPING HARD-BOTTOM INDICATORS FROM BRITISH COLUMBIA ARCHIVED BENTHIC VIDEO SURVEYS ASSOCIATED WITH THE AQUACULTURE ACTIVITIES REGULATIONS

The objective of this project is to apply a standard analytical approach to a large collection of archived video surveys collected as part of the British Columbia Finfish Aquaculture Waste Control Regulation (FAWCR). These video surveys were collected over a 7-year period (2004–2010) and over a wide range of coastal settings (fjordic inlets, Broughton Archipelago, the west coast of Vancouver Island, Johnstone Strait, etc.). Since the video protocols of FAWCR, recently written into the Conditions of Licence for Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), are mainly based on the specifications of field survey collection, it is important to develop a video evaluation protocol for enumerating benthic organisms and identifying key indicator species. Results will determine which environmental and aquaculture factors drive the population dynamics of key primary and secondary indicator species [Beggiatoa spp. and Opportunistic Polychaete Complexes (OPC)], as well as how well these indicator taxa represent benthic impact through video observations and DEPOMOD predictions.

Apr. 2011–Mar. 2015

Funded By: DFO – Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (DFO – PARR)

Project Lead: Terri Sutherland (DFO)

Project Team: Bernie Taekema, Kerry Hoyseth, March Klaver, John Chamberlain (DFO)

Collaborators: Dounia Hamoutene (DFO)

Contact: Terri.Sutherland@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

OCEANOGRAPHIC STUDY OF THE SOUTH COAST OF NEWFOUNDLAND

The expansion of aquaculture activities in new areas on the south coast of Newfoundland presents a challenge to the biosecurity and the sustainability of this growth. The objectives of this multi-year project are to understand the oceanographic conditions, including the circulation, on the South coast of Newfoundland, and provide scientifically sound information to help establish Bay Management Areas. Building on these objectives, sampling and modeling efforts were extended to Fortune Bay where cage culture has expanded and continues to grow. Sampling was conducted throughout the year (to encompass winter data) in Fortune Bay, Bay d’Espoir, Hermitage Bay, and Connaigre Bay. The results of the study will provide insight into the fundamental processes governing the ocean circulation in the area will allow for modelling and mapping of the physical environmental parameters and potential zones of influence. These zones will be used to establish production management areas to support fish health management for finfish aquaculture and support the estimation of potential environmental zones of benthic influence associated with elected finfish farms in the area.

Apr. 2011–Mar. 2015

Funded By: DFO – Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (DFO – PARR)

Project Lead: Andry Ratsimandresy (DFO)

Project Team: Danny Ings, Dwight Drover, Fred Page, Randy Losier, Mike Foreman (DFO)

Contact: Andry.Ratsimandresy@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Describing the physical oceanography of the Coast of Bays, Newfoundland, in support of aquaculture activities

Pool’s Cove, Coast of Bays region of Newfoundland. Photo: Curtis Pennell (DFO).