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Biofouling growth risk assessment on Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) farm nets: exploring links to environmental factors



Biofouling in aquaculture is an accumulation of microorganisms, plants, algae, and small animals on farm equipment, including net pens and ropes. Research suggests that the combined biofouling species (the biofouling community) may cause poor fish health, particularly gill-health issues. Biofouling species are directly affected by various physical and chemical characteristics of the water, as well as by water depth and light. Little is known, however, about the relationship between the biofouling community in salmon farms, various environmental drivers, and how the community varies across depth in salmon pens.

This project will monitor various physical environmental characteristics, nutrients, and biofouling communities at multiple fish farm sites around Vancouver Island. Throughout the project, the team will identify and measure the biofouling species present on commercial Atlantic Salmon net-pens at five depths, while also monitoring the gill health of the cultured salmon and key water characteristics at the farms. The project will use the collected information to identify the relationship between the biofouling species and communities present, the environmental characteristics, and fish gill health.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)



Principal investigator

Chris Pearce, Research Scientist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Biological Station, Pacific Region



Bogdan Vornicu, Water Quality Support Manager, Mowi Canada West Llc.

Rodrigo Cristi, Feed and Water Quality Manager, Mowi Canada West Llc.

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