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The development of robust methodologies for sulfide probe calibration and sediment sampling



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

Environmental monitoring of marine finfish aquaculture operations in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and British Columbia relies 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 between regions, which could lead to differing results.

Previous ACRDP research (M-13-01-001) 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. The results of this project can contribute to the development of reliable and robust methodology, which could be adopted by Provincial regulators, to result in more accurate, consistent results.

This project supports the environmental performance objective of the Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP), and pertains to the 2014-15 national ACRDP priority to explore the environmental impacts from aquaculture to the environment by increasing the knowledge and understanding of how aquaculture finfish operations impact the environment, and developing the means to manage, mitigate and control these impacts.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2014 - 2016


Atlantic: Gulf of Maine, Scotian Shelf

Principal Investigator(s)

Blythe Chang

Collaborative Partner(s)

Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association (ACFFA)

Sweeney International Marine Corp. (SIMCorp)

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