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Influence of Eastern Oyster aquaculture on eelgrass populations and their recovery



The aim of this project is to determine the extent and rate of recovery of eelgrass affected by 2 types of oyster culture methods (suspended bag and bottom table oyster culture) in order to develop best management practices for minimizing impacts on benthic habitat. The first objective is to monitor fine spatial and temporal scale recovery of eelgrass exposed to varying levels of benthic shading and organic enrichment from suspended bag culture structures with various oyster stocking densities. The second objective is to provide regional information on the influence of off bottom (table) culture of Eastern Oysters on eelgrass while determining the extent of recovery during fallowing periods for this culture method. There is a lack of reliable information about how to best place oyster tables in successive years in order to minimize cumulative impacts to benthic habitat (eelgrass). While data on the impacts to sea grass related to this culture method are available, very little research exists on the subsequent recovery of sea grass from such impacts. Furthermore, no known published results exist on impacts to and recovery of eelgrass loss and its subsequent performance during various recovery scenarios. This project will allow industry to develop best management practices to minimize initial impacts to benthic habitat as well as promote recovery in instances where impacts do occur.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2010 - 2013


Atlantic: Gulf of Maine, Scotian Shelf

Principal Investigator(s)

Marie-Hélène Thériault

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