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A Bivalve Carrying Capacity Model for Bay Management in a Changing Environment



Floating cages holding Eastern Oysters in Foxley River, Prince Edward Island. Credit: DFO, Gulf Region, Luc Comeau

A significant portion of Canadian aquaculture production is comprised of shellfish, which accounted for more than 40,000 tonnes of product with a farm gate value of approximately $83 million in 2012 ($40 million of that for Blue Mussels alone). This project will develop a computer model capable of predicting the impact of climate change on the capacity of estuarine ecosystems along Canada’s Pacific and Atlantic coasts to support bivalve aquaculture. The model will incorporate three bivalve species (i.e. Eastern Oyster, Pacific Oyster and Blue Mussel) and climate variables known to influence carrying capacity, such as precipitation, freshwater input, sea level, and temperature.

Model outputs will determine the probable impacts of various climate change scenarios on carrying capacity Footnote 1 , including insight into which areas of a bay will be most affected. These results will be presented in a summary table, informing aquaculture management decision-making related to several regulatory issues that are climate-change sensitive including farm siting, closures, and carrying capacity. This will enable Fisheries and Oceans Canada to effectively manage the anticipated growth of Canada’s bivalve aquaculture industry, with a view to avoiding climate-change related economic losses while taking advantage of any opportunities that climate change may present.

Program Name

Aquatic Climate Change Adaptation Services Program (ACCASP)


2014 - 2015



Atlantic: Gulf of Maine, Scotian Shelf

Pacific: Vancouver Island West Coast

Principal Investigator(s)

Luc Comeau
Gulf Region, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Tel.: (506) 851-2723

David Whorley
Aquaculture Policy and Regulatory Initiatives, National Capital Region
Tel.: (613) 991-0246

Team Member(s)

Ramon Filgueira, DFO Gulf

Thomas Guyondet, DFO Gulf

Thomas Landry, DFO Gulf

Marc Ouellette, DFO Gulf

Chris Pearce, DFO Pacific

Réjean Tremblay, Université de Québec à Rimouski, ISMER

Collaborative Partner(s)

Université de Québec à Rimouski

Institut des science de la mer (ISMER)

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