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Research Document - 2014/039

Use of remote video survey methodology in monitoring benthic impacts from finfish aquaculture on the south coast of Newfoundland (Canada)

By G. Mabrouk, T. Bungay, D. Drover, and D. Hamoutene


Determining the extent of influence of finfish farms on surrounding habitats is very important for environmental monitoring. On the south coast of Newfoundland, Canada, aquaculture is expanding vastly in deeper areas where hard and patchy substrates are predominant. In this case, challenges in obtaining sediment grabs restrict the use of conventional performance-based standards such as free sulphide and redox potential. This work explores the use of remote video surveys as a primary tool to assess potential effects of deposition on the benthos. Two different camera systems were compared in relation to image quality, recording parameters, ease of species identification, and substrate categorization. The challenge of variability among observers was examined and discussed. This study has fed into establishing a standard of practice and a list of species for use by regulatory bodies and environmental companies. This study provides a dependable, cost effective, and efficient tool for the assessment of impacts of aquaculture activities in deep sites with hard and patchy substrates.

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