Major, minor and trace element content derived from aquacultural activity of marine sediments (Central Adriatic, Croatia)
Introduction and purpose
Studies examining the environmental impact of marine aquaculture have increased significantly in number during the last few decades. The present paper investigates a region of rapid growth in intensive aquaculture and its influence on the local marine ecosystem.
This study was undertaken with the specific aim of assessing the effect of fish farming on marine sediment at a farm near the island of Vrgada in the Central Adriatic. Data obtained regarding major (Si, Al, K, Na, Fe, Ca, Mg), minor (Mn, P, Ti) and trace (As, Au, Ba, Cd, Co, Cr, Cs, Cu, Ga, Hf, Hg, Mo, Nb, Ni, Pb, Rb, Sb, Sc, Se, Sr, Ta, Th, Tl, U, V, Y, Zn, Zr) elements were used to estimate the spatial and temporal distribution of metals in the sediment and their possible relationship with local aquacultural activity.
Although the measured concentrations of heavy metals in sediment below fish cages were notably different and potentially a result of farming activity, the values were generally lower than background concentrations observed in the Central Adriatic. In contrast, concentrations of heavy metals at a reference site unaffected by aquaculture varied from lower levels to values even higher than those observed below the high-production cages. Furthermore, calculated environmental index values indicate that the sediment below the farm is either uncontaminated or suffers from only low levels of contamination.
Such results suggest that the effect of observed fish farm activity on the local marine ecosystem is practically negligible.
KeywordsFish farm Sediment Major, minor, trace element
The research was financially supported by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Republic of Slovenia (Bilateral projects between Croatia and Slovenia 2001–2009), Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS) and Geoexp, d.o.o., Tržič, Slovenia.
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