Scientists using an underwater robot for mussel research. (Photo: CSIC)
Scientific investigation into ecological impact of mussel farming launched
Friday, July 09, 2010, 23:20 (GMT + 9)
The project is funded by the Xunta de Galicia and provides to foster "ecological sustainability of mussel raft aquaculture," said CSIC in a statement.
In addition, researchers aim to "deepen the knowledge of mussel cultivation in Galicia and its environmental impacts, developing methods to optimise it whilst maintaining the ecological integrity of the area."
The experts began the study this week, taking advantage of the outcropping season.
The research was carried out through an experimental campaign at the zone of Lorbé, Ares-Betanzos estuary, where Proinsa has one hundred rafts for mussel production.
According to the CSIC, the scientists will address the study of "the feeding behaviour of mussels and phytoplankton biomass and other environmental parameters and their interaction with mussel farming" using the underwater robot Acrobat.
The aim of the experiment is to "establish the optimal areas for cultivation, and its influence on the depletion of phytoplankton and on the production of bio-deposits and their re-mineralisation."
The team added that such observations would be repeated in autumn, spring and winter.
The project leader and CSIC scientist, María José Fernández Reirez, said "Once we collect all the results, we will integrate them into a model of carrying capacity, which will tell us if the ecosystem still has the capacity to increase the number of rafts, if the maximum biomass has already been exceeded or if it is in equilibrium with the environment."
Finally, she ensured that the results serve not only to Galicia but also to develop mechanisms for efficient management of ecosystems and strategies that promote the sustainability of mussel culture in other countries, including Canada, reports Faro de Vigo.