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WG7b: Shellfish aquaculture & the environment

Prof Mike Elliott (UNIVERSITY OF Hull)
Dr Lisa Bickley (UNIVERISTY OF Exeter)

Aquaculture practices may in some cases have either detrimental or positive effects on the immediate aquatic environment at their site of culture. 

Key areas for this sub-WG to explore are:

a)    Review the use of risk assessment protocols and risk management approaches and software with regard to the way in which shellfish and algal aquaculture affects the environment and vice versa. This will include an analysis of how to prevent the risks to aquaculture from all environmental influences, including climate change, and also to quantify the use of mitigation and compensation measures to prevent adverse consequences.

b)    In order to determine the future potential for blue growth in shellfish aquaculture, we will review opportunity assessment and opportunity management for both currently used and future species for culture. The risk and opportunity framework will consider the natural and social science aspects for the protection of aquatic functioning, the creation of ecosystem services and the delivery of societal benefits.

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WG7: Environment, Climate Change & capacity

Prof Carlos Garcia De-Leaniz (Swansea UNIVERSITY)
Dr Adam Hughes (Scottish Association for Marine Science [SAMS], UNIVERSITY OF THE HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS [UHI])


WG7 is one of the most extensive working groups due to the breadth of the WG topic and its crossover with other aquaculture disciplines. Hence WG7 has been split into sub-WGs, each with their own lead. These sub-WG are still in development so keep an eye on this page as things change.


WG7a: Environment and Capacity

lead: Dr Adam Hughes (SAMS, UHI)

The planned increases in marine finfish and shellfish production will require a substantial increase in the size and number of aquaculture farm sites.  This sub-WG will look at the the issues surrounding the interactions between aquaculture and the aquatic environment in which it operates.

Key areas for this sub-WG to explore are:

a)    Impact of farmed fish and shellfish on the wild fish and shellfish and vice versa in the proximity of production sites, in particular transfer of sea lice, escape of farmed fish and possible genetic introgression and competition and disease.

b)    Modelling the potential carrying capacity of proposed farm sites to cope with, and assimilate, the increase in nutrients and organic waste from feeds and effluents from medicines and chemical treatments that an expansion of the industry would involve.

c)     Use of off shore space for expansion of sites would improve the assimilation of waste and the provide greater space for expansion reducing conflicts with other users of inshore areas. There is little data available on these areas and the other issues that this might raise.

d)    Better data and modelling is required to enable aquaculture to be integrated into developing Regional Marine Plans.


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WG7c: Climate change and shellfish and finfish aquaculture

Prof Maggie Cusack (UNIVERSITY OF Stirling)

UK aquaculture is set to grow over the coming decades. Coincident with this, climate change is evident in warming and acidification that are occurring at unprecedented rates. McIntosh et al. (2014) in the House of Commons DEFRA committee warned that "Complacency is a genuine risk to future UK food security. If we want our food production and supply systems to be secure, Government and food producers must plan to meet the impacts of climate change, population growth and increasing global demand for food." WG7c will address the challenges and opportunities for the aquaculture industry in the face of climate change.

Key areas for this sub-WG to explore are:

a)    Reviewing the influence of warming and acidification on the integrity and protective function of the shells of key aquaculture species and on the function of holdfasts such as mussel byssus.

b)    Assessing the likelihood and impact of invasive species on current aquaculture species.

c). Considering the potential impact of HABs that may occur as a result of climate change, and drafting protocols for immediate response to such events.

d). Reviewing the prospect of climate change opening up possibilities of novel aquaculture species.