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Development of predictive modeling tools to assist with freshwater aquaculture site licensing decisions



Governmental agencies charged with the responsibility of licensing and regulation of the aquaculture industry are in need of objective tools to assist in their decision-making processes. The development of such tools would similarly be of benefit to the industry, as currently the primary factor limiting the expansion of the freshwater industry is access to new sites. The lack of tools to estimate ecological consequences of new sites has resulted in a very precautionary atmosphere, a complex and expensive application process and, ultimately, limited development of the industry.

The primary environmental concerns with cage aquaculture are related to benthic impacts and exceedance of the assimilative capacity of an ecosystem for nutrient inputs. Cage aquaculture has the potential to have far-ranging impacts on the lake ecosystem. Increased nutrient inputs can affect overall ecosystem productivity and excessive nutrient inputs can lead to eutrophication, which may include such undesirable consequences as development of nuisance algal blooms, oxygen deficient and loss of biodiversity. The deposition of sold wastes under farms contributes to increased sediment oxygen demand as well as the potential to significantly alter the quality of benthic habitat and the composition of benthic communities beneath and surrounding farms.

Program Components

  1. DEPOMOD evaluation
  2. Dispersion model development
  3. Benthic impacts model development
  4. Particle Dispersion and Benthic Impacts Model Testing
  5. Ecological Effects Modeling

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2008 - 2012



Principal Investigator(s)

Cheryl Podemski

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