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Biological and Physical Oceanographic Interactions Affecting Northwest Atlantic Coastal Aquaculture Sites - Quantifying Mussel Seed Quality and Availability in Newfoundland, NL



At the Newfoundland Mussel Industry Workshop held in Gander, NL, April 5th , 2005 the primary priority of the mussel growers was ensuring good quality mussel seed to support expansion of the industry. The mussel industry ranked this issue as their first research priority. In response to that mandate from its members the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association in partnership with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Provincial Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have developed this study for ACRDP funding. This project focuses on utilizing biological and physical oceanography and current profiling to answer the following questions.

  1. What environmental factors and genetic characteristics are present in superior quality mussel seed?
  2. How can collection of this superior quality mussel seed be maximized?
  3. What locations could provide similar or comparable seed quality?

The project objectives are:

  1. To quantify the environment and genetics of a control seed supply.
    1. Determine the environmental factors, particularly temperature and chlorophyll levels, present at a control collector site.
    2. Determine the genetic profile of the mussel seed.
  2. To quantify collection or settlement of seed the following three areas will be addressed.
    1. spawning cues - temperature vs. phytoplankton
    2. Tracking spat movement in the surface waters at the seed site by current direction and depth
    3. Collector line fouling by macroalgae and the release of biotoxins which inhibit settlement/retention of spat
  3. To determine the parameters or variables which most affect mussel seed and their growth and survival rates
    1. Quantify the growth and survival of mussel seed sold to and transferred to other sites around the island.
    2. Quantify the factors involved in the survival and growth of mussel seed located in different environments.
  4. Seek out suitable locations for new mussel seed that may fit the environmental and physical parameters determined by this and previous studies.

With the assistance of CFIA, determine regions/sites in Newfoundland which have tested positive for shellfish toxins (PSP, DSP, ASP, and YST) to avoid seed and grow out sites which may be at risk from harmful algae blooms.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2005 - 2010


Atlantic: Newfoundland, Labrador Shelves

Principal Investigator(s)

Cynthia McKenzie

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