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Research Document 2017/071

Oceanographic and environmental conditions in the Discovery Islands, British Columbia

By Chandler, P.C., Foreman, M.G.G., Ouellet, M., Mimeault, C., and Wade, J.

Abstract

This paper describes the oceanographic and environmental conditions in the Discovery Islands area of British Columbia that are relevant to inform assessments of the risks to wild salmon populations due to pathogen transfer from salmon farms located in the Discovery Islands. Consequently, this paper mainly focuses on the oceanographic and environmental conditions expected to affect the persistence and dispersal of pathogens in the marine environment.

The sources of information used to describe the environmental and oceanographic conditions in the Discovery Islands area include data collected from monitoring and research programs carried out by federal and provincial governments, academic institutions, environmental non-governmental agencies, and by Atlantic Salmon farming companies.

The current state of knowledge and associated knowledge gaps for oceanographic conditions such as water temperature, water salinity, dissolved oxygen and water currents in the Discovery Islands are included. Solar radiation and ultraviolet light as well as biota and suspended solids in the region are also reviewed.

The Finite Volume Community Ocean Model (FVCOM) has been applied in the Discovery Islands to simulate the hydrodynamics in areas of aquaculture activities. This paper includes main conclusions from simulations conducted for April and July 2010, comparisons of observations and modelling simulations and representativeness of conditions observed in April and July 2010. Results from the passive particle tracking model used to simulate the trajectories and dispersion of particles in the water column in the Discovery Islands are also included.

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