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Modelling the benthic impacts of aquaculture waste deposition at Lake Huron cage farms



Modelling the potential impacts of a new cage site is becoming a required component of the risk analysis associated with the licensing process in many jurisdictions. Models that predict the dispersal of solid wastes from fish farms have been used as effective tools in aquaculture license decision making. Among these models, DEPOMOD, initially developed in Scotland, has received worldwide acceptance by marine researchers and regulators, including some regions of Canada. DEPOMOD is a strong candidate as an environmental management tool for freshwater finfish farms because the model is flexible and allows the user to adjust many factors that can influence the production and dispersion of wastes. An assessment of the suitability of DEPOMOD for the management of finfish aquaculture in freshwater systems is currently underway in the Central and Arctic Region. For optimal use in freshwater environments, the benthic module and the infaunal trophic index (ITI) used in DEPOMOD modelling must be refined. The objective of this project is to describe the relationship between gross sedimentation rate of organic carbon and the community composition of benthic invertebrates in the North Channel of Lake Huron. It will be determined if existing indices for lake trophic status, based on oligochaete (worms) or chironomid (flies) taxonomy, are responsive to farm inputs and determine if indices based upon feeding ecology of benthos or on known tolerances to pollution are of value in modelling exercises.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2010 - 2013


Central Canada: Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Freshwater Drainage Basin

Principal Investigator(s)

Cheryl Podemski

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