Aquaculture as part of marine science
Glasgow gathering provides opportunities for cross fertilisation of ideas
The annual science meeting of MASdS, taking place in lasgow from September 30 to Kctober 2, brings together the marine science community and pro ides opportunities for the cross fertilisation of ideas and techni ues.
MASdS operations director r Mark ames pointed out that at last year s meeting in Edinburgh there were more than 350 delegates, 40 per cent of whom were non-academics, including policy makers, regulators, industry representati es and E K stakeholders.
Clockwise from top right: Cleaner fish team Ben amin erafa, ,er e Migaud and Eric eclerc Mark ames SA C s ames e erill Richard Eewton
reflects the ery broad spectrum of issues co ered by the annual science meeting. t was described last year by one delegate as a smorgasbord of a conference , and indeed with talks limited to 12 minutes and speakers instructed to gi e explanations in accessible language, anyone in the plenary sessions can be exposed to a huge range of topics in one session.
dhe programme is arranged so as few sessions as possible o erlap. t is this width and bre ity that makes this particular meeting so useful.
t is a three-day e ent, with the first two days of mostly plenary sessions, while the third day has workshops of a more specialised nature, including a half day on sustainable a uaculture and issues and opportunities at the interface between engineering and ecology in offshore and marine renewables .
MASdS (Marine Alliance for Science and dechnology for Scotland) as an organisation co ers a huge range of expertise and infrastructural resources in the wide area of marine science. Research is organised under three main themes marine systems biodi ersity and ecosystem ser ices and producti e seas, and within these areas there are different forums, the coastal forum, deep sea forum, sustainable a uaculture forum and a marine energy forum.
There is thus a huge range of expertise, all with a marine interest, where research is given the opportunity to interact profitably with all interests.
The most obvious area where this cross linkage can be realised is in the area of the deep sea, where development of renewables or decommissioning of drilling platforms can raise all sorts of questions around currents, sedimentation patterns, impacts both negative and positive on marine fauna and ecosystems.
But with increasing pressure for aquaculture to move further offshore, there are similar benefits for these cross fertilisation benefits, while even in inshore sites there are benefits to be obtained from interactions between disciplines.
Just such ‘technology meets biology’ can be seen in one of the presentations to be given at the sustainable aquaculture workshop. Results from a project investigating cleaner fish behaviour in salmon net pens will be presented for the first time.
The project, funded by Sainsbury’s and Marine Harvest with the support of the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) started in summer 2014 under the lead of Professor Herve Migaud and Dr Eric Leclercq with the support of Benjamin Rerafa from the Institute of Aquaculture at the University of Stirling.
It uses hydroacoustic 3D tracking technology to study behavioural and feeding patterns of cleaner fish (both ballan wrasse and lumpsucker used as biological controls of sea lice) following deployment in salmon sea pens.
The aim of the project is to implement species specific management strategies to optimise cleaner fish welfare, survival and efficiency at delousing salmon.
Another of the projects under discussion is life cycle assessment (LCA) of the potential risks/benefits of increasing mariculture production to partially replace terrestrial production of food and (bio)fuel.
This study, funded by WWF and Scottish Aquaculture Research Forum (SARF) and carried out by researcher Dr Richard Newton, found that the impacts are mostly associated with feed production so that despite the activity being carried out at sea, the freshwater and land footprints can still be very high and on a similar scale to the most efficient terrestrial production (chicken).
The key to reducing environmental impact is therefore better use of feed and more efficient production of the feed ingredients.
As part of this workshop, presenters are asked to speculate on future directions of research. Maybe this is actually where industry participants would be usefully able to suggest areas where they would like work done, since researchers can be reluctant to share ideas until they are published and acknowledged.
This would fit with the first part of the workshop where Dr James Deverill, director of research and innovation at SAIC, will talk about “Funding and managing the sustainable growth of Scottish aquaculture capacity’.
For more information visit www.masts. ac.uk/annual-science-meeting/