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Research Document - 2010/023

Pathway of effects of artificial light on non-target organisms at aquaculture sites in Canada

By E.A. Trippel


A national Framework for Aquaculture Environmental Management (FAEM) is being developed to provide the basis for a coherent national approach to support the sustainability of the aquaculture sector in Canada. Of the various possible stressors, this document examines the pathways of effects of the alteration of light in aquaculture activities on natural aquatic ecosystems in Canada. Its content (i) briefly summarizes the benefits that fish farmers accrue by using 24 h light exposure, (ii) describes the light intensity, periodicity, wavelengths and arrays deployed, as well as outlines spatial and seasonal scales, (iii) based on available scientific literature, reports and speculates on the effects of light deployment on non-target marine biota, and (iv) identifies knowledge gaps and recommends possible research to address the effects of artificial light on aquatic ecosystems in Canada. It is concluded that artificial illumination of sea pens in the evening during late fall/early winter, a common practice to improve fish productivity, does not appear to pose a serious threat to Canadian aquatic ecosystems. Relative to many of the other aquaculture stressors, the risks imposed by artificial light appear to be minor.

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