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Evaluation of benthic far-field and site recovery effects from aquaculture within the Letang Inlet, New Brunswick



One of the primary environmental effects of coastal marine aquaculture is related to the deposition of organic material (uneaten fish food and feces) to the seabed and the associated change in benthic organisms inhabiting the affected area. While the obvious effects of organic deposition are limited to close proximity of an aquaculture site, there exists concern that there may be impacts in the far-field from the cumulative effect of multiple commercial operations within a limited area.

In the restricted area of the Bay of Fundy’s Letang Inlet in New Brunswick, there is some concern about these types of effects where changes in the macrofauna species composition have been previously observed. The industry has attempted to remediate this situation using various management strategies such as reduction of operational sites, and employment of fallowing periods according to Bay Management Areas designation. The effectiveness of these changes, however, has not yet been assessed. This project will assess the far-field environmental effects of marine aquaculture on the benthic community structure within the Letang Inlet over a four-year period. It will also compare these far-field effects to a previous baseline study to determine whether the management approaches within Letang Inlet have stabilized or improved conditions. This will provide valuable information to aquaculture regulators and the industry on the effectiveness of current management measures.

This project supports the optimal environmental performance objective of the Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP), pertaining to the 2013-14 national ACRDP priority to evaluate the environmental impact of aquaculture on the environment through increased knowledge and understanding of how aquaculture finfish operations interact with the environment.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2013 - 2016


Atlantic: Gulf of Maine, Scotian Shelf

Principal Investigator(s)

Andrew Cooper

Collaborative Partner(s)

Northern Harvest Sea Farms

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