Aqua­cul­ture as part of marine science

Glas­gow gath­er­ing pro­vides op­por­tu­ni­ties for cross fer­til­i­sa­tion of ideas

Fish Farmer - - Masts –Annual Meeting - BY JANET H BROWN

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.

dhis mix

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/

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