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Site selection of mussel mitigation cultures in relation to efficient nutrient compensation of fish farming

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In the Baltic Sea, rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss is the most common species used in marine aquaculture, but further increase in production is problematic due to environmental legal regulations, especially in the coastal zone. A solution could be to place the fish farms offshore and use mussel mitigation cultures to extract nutrients released from the fish farms. We used 3D ecological modeling to identify suitable locations for mussel mitigation cultures in relation to nutrient pollution from a fish farm in the inner Danish waters. The model results showed that potential mussel harvest depended on the food flux following a saturation curve with a maximum yield of 2100 to 2600 t wet weight and then stabilized at around 2100 to 2600 t wet weight of mussels. A single mussel farm (36 ha) can potentially remove 17-31% of the released nitrogen from the fish farm. Mussel farms located inside or a few km outside the coastal areas receiving the highest nutrient inputs from the fish farm were found to be the most suitable among the tested sites. In contrast, co-location with the fish farm was not advisable due to the negative benthic impact below the farms. However, it is up to the managers to decide which positive and negative effects should receive the most attention, given the present need for protection of water bodies and habitats and in relation to other activities in the area. This study demonstrates that modeling can support management decisions with respect to site selection of aquaculture and provide the needed data on far-field and local environmental effects from integrated aquaculture.

TidsskriftAquaculture Environment Interactions
Sider (fra-til)339-358
Antal sider20
StatusUdgivet - 2020

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