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Bay characterization for Nova Scotia shellfish aquaculture

PARR-2015-G-08

Description

In the waters of northwestern Nova Scotia, shellfish aquaculture is in its early stages of development. Balance between sustainable development of shellfish aquaculture, fisheries and other resource uses can be achieved through marine spatial planning approach to managing ocean spaces that helps to balance the increased demand for human activities with the need to protect marine ecosystems. This project sought to help Nova Scotia develop a bay management plan by describing and mapping coastal areas identified for aquaculture to provide critical information for planning and science-based decision making.

The department had identified a number of bays in Nova Scotia where future potential aquaculture development might occur. Key variables including hydrodynamic characteristics, fisheries and ecologically sensitive species’ habitat and distribution, as well as aquaculture-specific activities and mitigation options were described for these bays. The results from this project will help support departmental regulatory decisions that are consistent with the ecosystem-based approach to managing the shellfish aquaculture industry.

Findings

Five Nova Scotia bays (Pugwash-River Philip, Boat Harbor, Little Harbor, Merigomish Harbor and Mabou Harbor) were mapped for eelgrass, bathymetry, intertidal zone, ice-impact zone, aerial imagery and aquaculture infrastructure. A web-based mapping tool was developed as a demonstration project for Little Harbor and is available online.

The web-tool facilitated accessibility to Geographic Information System (GIS) to users by eliminating the need for specialized GIS software. It gave access, visualization, query overlay and specific statistics of user defined areas to allow multiple users access to the information for decision making.

This study provided relevant geospatial information on bays of interest in northwestern Nova Scotia that will guide development and decisions related to siting/leasing of growing areas for bivalve aquaculture.

Publications

AGRG. 2018. Aquaculture Decision Support Tool Demonstration Project. Technical report, Applied Geomatics Research Group, NSCC Middleton, NS. 42p.

Webster, T., Collins, K. 2016. Topo-bathymetric Lidar Research for Aquaculture and Coastal Development in Nova Scotia: Interim Report. Technical report, Applied Geomatics Research Group, NSCC Middleton, NS. 41p.

Webster, T., Collins, K. 2017. Mapping of Aquaculture Bays in the Gulf Region for Marine Spatial Planning. Technical report, Applied Geomatics Research Group, NSCC Middleton, NS.52 p.

Multimedia

Shedding light on the effects of oyster farming

Program Name

Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (PARR)

Year(s)

2015 - 2018

Principal Investigator(s)

Monique Niles
Aquatic Science Biologist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Aquaculture and Coastal Ecosystems, Gulf Fisheries Centre, Gulf Region
Email: Monique.Niles@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Team Member(s)

Marc Ouellette, Aquatic Science Biologist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Gulf Fisheries Centre, Science Branch, Gulf Region

Thomas Guyondet, Research Scientist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Aquaculture and Coastal Ecosystems, Gulf Fisheries Centre, Gulf Region

Thomas Landry, Research Scientist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Aquaculture and Coastal Ecosystems, Gulf Fisheries Centre, Gulf Region

Andrew Bagnall, Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture

Tim Webster, Applied Geomatics Research Group, Nova Scotia Community College

Kate Collins, Applied Geomatics Research Group, Nova Scotia Community College

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