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Validation of a preventive containment protocol for scallop spat



The development of Quebec scallop farms depends on their capacity to transfer scallops of various ages from one region to another under a transfer permit. The transfer of spat can pose an ecological risk to the receiving site due to the unintentional transfer of undesirable species from the supply site. The presence of several potentially toxic or harmful phytoplankton species in the Magdalen Islands requires the quarantining of scallops prior to transfer to regions where such species do not occur. Quarantining is the mitigation measure recommended by the Introductions and Transfers Committee to reduce the ecological risk posed by the unintentional transfer of toxic algae with spat to acceptable levels. The 48-h quarantine recommended by DFO to minimize the risk of transferring toxic algae during bivalve transfers is based on studies carried out with juvenile and adult bivalves. The reduction of the containment time to less than 48 h would make it possible to minimize the fasting period and maximize the vitality of small spat following their treatment, while reducing the farms' operating costs.

Four objectives were identified for this project. They are:

  1. to determine the capacity to contain phytoplankton cells (including toxic algae) and small organisms (larvae) following transfer handling operations;
  2. to develop a preventive on-farm containment protocol for very small scallop spat (6-10 mm);
  3. to determine the capacity of scallop spat to retain toxic algae cysts and to validate the containment protocol to ensure their elimination; and
  4. to document the thermal tolerances of toxic algae found exclusively in the Magdalen Islands.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2009 - 2010


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

Principal Investigator(s)

Michael Scarratt

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