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Effects of wild fish and motile epibenthic invertebrates on the benthos below an open water fish farm

Authors
Publisher
Elsevier Ltd
Publication Date
Volume
91
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2010.10.023
Keywords
  • Aquaculture
  • Macrofauna
  • Predation
  • Sediment Biogeochemistry
  • Organic Matter Enrichment
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Ecology

Abstract

Abstract A manipulative caging experiment was carried out to evaluate the role of wild fish and motile epibenthic invertebrates on the benthic system influenced by an open water fish farm. Chemical and biological parameters of the sediment were measured as indicators of the ecological benthic status. The combination of wild fish and currents notably lowered aquaculture waste sedimentation below the fish farm. The limited waste sedimentation rate could have limited the scavenger and predation activity of wild fish on the benthos, whose role may be taken over by motile epibenthic invertebrates. The interaction of these motile epibenthic invertebrates with the sediment differed from that observed with fish. The motile epibenthic invertebrates led to more reduced conditions with lower redox values, significantly decreased the number of species of macrofaunal benthic assemblages and significantly modified macrofaunal benthic assemblages. Therefore, epibenthic invertebrates do not seem to have an ameliorative effect on the benthic status produced by fish farming. Since the effects of epibenthic species on the benthic system can greatly vary according to their identity, further experiments should be performed to better understand the drivers that influence the epibenthic species identity that modulate the benthic system affected by fish farming.

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