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Organic Enrichment from Marine Finfish Aquaculture and Effects on Sediment Biogeochemical Processes

  • Marianne HolmerEmail author
  • Dave Wildish
  • Barry Hargrave
Chapter
Part of the Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 5M)

Abstract

Organic enrichment of sediments underlying fish farms in temperate and tropical coastal zones is reviewed to identify similarities and important biogeochemical differences. Improvements in technology have allowed farms to move from depositional sites to more erosional offshore locations. However, low cost farms are still being located in sheltered areas, in particular in the tropics. Important differences in the response of sediment geochemical variables to organic enrichment are associated with finfish aquaculture located under highly diverse hydrographic and sedimentological conditions in different coastal areas. In temperate latitudes where farms are often located over soft bottom, organic enrichment increases sediment microbial activity and may alter benthic community structure. Enhanced anaerobic activity may lead to accumulation of sulfides with adverse effects on aerobic bacteria, plants and fauna due to progressive oxygen depletion. In warm temperate waters, such as the Mediterranean and tropical latitudes, many farms are located in more advective areas with coarse-grained carbonate-rich sediments. Effects of organic enrichment in these areas are less well described, but studies have also shown sulfide accumulation in sediments indicative of deteriorated benthic habitats.

Aquaculture Organic enrichment Sediment biogeochemistry Sea grass communities  

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of BiologyUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdense MDenmark
  2. 2.Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Biological StationSt. Andrews, New BrunswickCanada
  3. 3.Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Marine Environmental SciencesBedford Institute of OceanographyDartmouth, Nova ScotiaCanada

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