Environmental responses to organic and inorganic effluents from fin-fish aquaculture
Intensive fish farming of fin-fish in open net-pens results in the release of organic and inorganic effluents like carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus to the environment. Accumulation of these effluents into the marine system can negatively impact the ecosystem by contributing to eutrophication of pelagic systems, fertilisation of benthic macrophytes in the euphotic zone, and organic enrichment of deeper benthic systems.
About the project
The rapid development of the Norwegian salmonid industry requires a management regime based on strong scientific knowledge that can also meet the expected challenges for the industry of tomorrow. Environmental responses to organic and inorganic effluents have significant concern today and will escalate with predicted future production levels.
The main objectives are:
- to develop physical models for integration of effluent dispersal from fish farming
- to trace the dispersal of organic and inorganic effluents into the environment and associated biota
- to determine the effects of organic and inorganic effluents released form fish farms on the structure and functioning of benthic systems
The main outcome will be the synthesis of scientific knowledge to the scientific community, the industry, the environmental authorities and managers, and the the general public.
The Norwegian coast is well suited for aquaculture, offering extensive archipelagos with deep, well flushed inshore fish farming localities and stable salinity and water temperatures. The Norwegian aquaculture industry has prospered under these conditions for the past 20 years and experienced an average yearly growth of 20%. With this rapid expansion the salmonoid industry has continuously restructured with larger farms and relocation of farms to deeper and current rich sites. This rapid development has lead to increased concerns about the environmental impact. Increased awareness of elevated discharges of excess feed and faeces, nutrients and therapeutic chemicals to the marine environment has coincided in greater scrutiny of the aquaculture industry.