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Effects of nutrient release from Mediterranean fish farms on benthic vegetation in coastal ecosystems *

Contract nr: QLRT-CT-2000-02456
Project type: RS (Research and Technological Development Project)
Starting date:
Duration: months
Total cost: 2,451,348 EUR
EC Contribution: 1,186,000 EUR
Scientific Officer:
Research topic: 5.1.2. Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture

Abstract:
Fish farming is a rapidly increasing industry worldwide, particularly in the Mediterranean where fish farming is a relatively new industry. Mediterranean fish farms are often located in near-shore areas which are suitable habitats for dense seagrass meadows due to the strong currents and coarse sediments at such locations. This can lead to conflicts of interest between efforts in protecting and conserving seagrasses in coastal zones and exploitation of farming activities. The objective of this project is to study the environmental impacts of fish farming on benthic vegetation (seagrasses, macroalgae) and fauna, and evaluate if seagrasses and fauna can be used as early-warning indicators of environmental impacts. The project will focus on nutrients released from the farms, and will provide a dose/response nutrient model which can be used by fish farming professionals to improve production strategies and by policy-makers at national and EU level.

Objectives:
The main objectives are to study the environmental impacts of fish farming on benthic vegetation (seagrasses and macroalgae) and benthic fauna, and to provide new insights for monitoring purposes.

The specific objectives are to explore:
1) the loss of nutrients from Mediterranean fish farms;
2) the incorporation of nutrients into pelagic and benthic vegetation in the surroundings of fish farms;
3) the impact of released nutrients and fish farm effluents on benthic vegetation and fauna. We wish to evaluate if seagrasses and benthic fauna can be used as early-warning indicators of fish farming impacts.

Finally, the information obtained on nutrient release and effects of nutrients on pelagic and benthic vegetation will be incorporated into a dose/response model. An important objective of this project is to include exchange of knowledge between scientist and end-users through workshops and conferences.


Coordinator
Vagn HOLMEGAARD
ODENSE UNIVERSITY - SDU
Odense
DENMARK
Tel.: +45 65502911
Fax: +45 65501090
E-mail: vh@adm.sdu.dk


Partners
  Joaquim AZCON
UNIVERSITAT DE BARCELONA
Barcelona
SPAIN
Tel.: +34 934034572
Fax: +34 934034510
E-mail: samir@pcb.ub.es
  Gabriel GABRIELIDES
DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES AND MARINE RESEARCH
Nicosia
CYPRUS
Tel.: +357 2807867
Fax: +357 2775955
E-mail: ggabriel@cytanet.com.cy
  Enric MASSUTI SUREDA
DIRECCIO GENERAL DE PESCA GOVERN DE LES ILLES BALEARS
Palma de Mallorca
SPAIN
Tel.: +34 71176104
Fax: +34 71176157
E-mail: t.fraile@orgc.csic.es
  Kurt NIELSEN
NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Silkeborg
DENMARK
Tel.: +45 89201400
Fax: +45 89201414
E-mail: kni@dmu.dk
  Marco PACETTI
UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI ANCONA
Ancona
ITALY
Tel.: +39 0712202216
Fax: +39 0712202213
E-mail: rettore@niasun.unian.it
  Joaquim TINTORE SUBIRANA
CONSEJO SUPERIOR DE INVESTIGACIONES CIENTIFICAS
Esporles
SPAIN
Tel.: +34 971611716
Fax: +34 971611761
E-mail: imedeadir@clust.uib.es
  Eleftherios ZOUROS
INSTITUTE OF MARINE BIOLOGY OF CRETE
Heraklion
GREECE
Tel.: +30 81346860
Fax: +30 81241882
E-mail: zouros@imbc.gr