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Assessing the value of bivalve meat as an indicator of ecosystem health



The purpose of this project is to assess the value of bivalve meat yield as a simple and cost-effective indicator of change in ecosystem carrying capacity attributable to shellfish aquaculture activities, as opposed to production carrying capacity. The underlying rational is that drop in meat size and weight below natural bounds signals that the most important filter-feeders in the system (i.e., the bivalves in culture) are having a negative feedback on themselves and presumably other secondary producers in the environment. Conceptually the intent is to avoid a “tipping point”, where the resilience is exceeded and the system reorganizes, compromising ecosystem functioning and consequently ecosystem services.

Initial results identified shell growth to be a more sensitive indicator of ecosystem health than meat yield. Although shell growth determination in the field requires two samplings over time, the measurements are much simpler than those associated to meat yield.





Program Name

Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (PARR)


2011 - 2014


Atlantic: Newfoundland, Labrador Shelves

Principal Investigator(s)

Luc Comeau
343 Ave University Ave, Moncton, NB
Tel.: (506) 851-2723

Team Member(s)

Thomas Guyondet, DFO-Gulf region

Thomas Landry, DFO-Gulf region

Ramon Filgueira, Dalhousie University

Jon Grant, Dalhousie University

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