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Aquaculture (the farming of marine and aquatic organisms) is the fastest growing agri‐food sector in the world and is regularly cited as a primary solution to addressing growing global food deficiency. In British Columbia the aquaculture industry is dominated by two species, Atlantic salmon and Pacific oyster. While the potential economic benefits of this industry are well understood, the direct and indirect ecological consequences are less so. A consistent feature of all industrial scale aquaculture systems is the extremely high density of production animals. Rearing animals at densities that can exceed 1000x ambient can generate adverse effects both within and beyond the farm. Many such effects are well documented, if not well understood. Others, such as those addressed in this suite of projects are not yet documented: How the very presence of farms changes epidemiological dynamics in wild populations?; How farm-derived nutrient subsidies may drive increased exposure and susceptibility to parasites in wild flatfish?; How non-target species such as prawn is affected by chemical parasite treatments used on farms?; How large can an oyster farm be before it starts undermining fundamental ecological functions of its surrounding environment?; Once impacted, how is a marine site most effectively restored?. Answering such questions is only half the challenge, synthesizing data so that it can be used to advance well informed policy is also a priority. This project will develop empirically derived performance metrics which will allow direct comparison of sustainability performance BC aquaculture facilities.
Dr. John Volpe
Krisofer Kloehn, Dane Stabel, Ashley Park, Helen Ford, Valerie Mucciarelli, Jennifer Gee
United Fishermen and Allied Workers Union
Resources and environmental management
Fisheries and wildlife
University of Victoria
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