Quantification of finfish assemblages associated with mussel and seaweed farms in southwest UK provides evidence of potential benefits to fisheries

Corrigan, S, Smale, DA, Tyler, CR and Brown, AR 2024 Quantification of finfish assemblages associated with mussel and seaweed farms in southwest UK provides evidence of potential benefits to fisheries. Aquaculture Environment Interactions, 16. 145-162. https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00478

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Official URL: https://www.int-res.com/abstracts/aei/v16/p145-162...


Low trophic aquaculture, including shellfish and seaweed farming, offers a potentially sustainable food source and may provide additional environmental benefits, including the creation of new feeding, breeding and nursery areas for fish of commercial and ecological importance. However, quantitative assessments of fish assemblages associated with aquaculture sites are lacking. We used pelagic baited remote underwater videos (BRUVs) and hook and line catches to survey summer fish assemblages at 2 integrated blue mussel Mytilus edulis and kelp (predominantly Saccharina latissima) farms in southwest UK. We recorded at least 11 finfish species across the surveys, including several of commercial importance, with farmed mussels and/or kelps supporting significantly higher levels of abundance and richness than reference areas outside farm infrastructure. Farmed kelp provided temporary habitat due to seasonal harvesting schedules, whereas farmed mussels provided greater habitat stability due to overlapping interannual growth cycles. Stomach content analysis of fish caught at the farms revealed that some low trophic level species had high proportions of amphipods in their stomachs, which also dominated epibiont assemblages at the farms. Higher trophic level fish stomachs contained several lower trophic level fish species, suggesting that farms provide new foraging grounds and support secondary and tertiary production. Although not identified to species level, juvenile fish were abundant at both farms, suggesting potential provisioning of nursery or breeding grounds; however, this needs further verification. Overall, this study provides evidence that shellfish and seaweed aquaculture can support and enhance populations of commercially and ecologically important fish species through habitat provisioning.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Keywords: restorative aquaculture, shellfish farming, kelp farming, BRUV, biodiversity, habitat, IMTA
Subjects: Aquaculture
Marine Sciences
Divisions: Marine Biological Association of the UK > Coastal Ecology
Depositing User: Ms Kristina Hixon
Date made live: 09 May 2024 10:01
Last Modified: 09 May 2024 10:01
URI: https://plymsea.ac.uk/id/eprint/10205

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