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The environmental impact of using non-permanent gear for oyster culture



Aquaculture is a relatively new sector of the Canadian agri-food industry with finfish and shellfish as the two main types of culture. Shellfish culture is predominated by bivalve species, with oyster culture in British Columbia and mussel culture in Prince Edward Island. Most development has occurred over the past 20-30 years. The limited public knowledge of these industries and their fast growth in relatively uncharted coastal waters, however, is stimulating debate on their environmental effect. Unfortunately, very few studies have been conducted on the interaction between bivalve culture and the marine environment, and none dealing with the effect of non-permanent oyster culture gear.

The main objective of this 2-year project is to evaluate the scale of benthic disturbance caused by the use of non-permanent oyster culture gear, or equipment which is not fixed in space for the duration of the production cycle. The project is conducted on two sites with data collected throughout the 2-year period. Assessment of sedimentation rate and quality is being collected for different culture practices as well as control sites.

The sedimentation rate will be determined in relation to oyster culture gear density and duration on two culture sites as well as control site in Shippagan and Richibuctou. The quality of sediment will be evaluated in terms of Redox Potential and Sulfur concentration. Results will be presented at the various consultation meetings and workshops as well as the New Brunswick Working Group on Environmental Interactions with Mariculture.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2002 - 2004


Atlantic: Gulf of St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence Estuary

Principal Investigator(s)

Thomas Landry

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