Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Influence of suspended and off-bottom mussel culture on the sea bottom and benthic habitats: a review.

Abstract

Aquaculture is the fastest growing sector of the food industry, raising concerns about the influence of this activity on the environment. We take a holistic approach to review off-bottom and suspended mussel culture effects on the benthic environment and benthic communities. Both longline and "bouchot" mussel culture add much physical structure (infrastructure and mussels) to the environment, altering hydrosedimentary processes by modifying currents and increasing sedimentation locally, and providing habitat for many benthic organisms. Biodeposition from mussels and these organisms increases benthic organic loading and linked biogeochemical processes to influence O2, pH, redox potentials, dissolved sulphides, and other sediment parameters, benthic respiration and nutrient fluxes, and benthic infaunal communities. Mussel culture may also influence seagrasses and algae, although this has not been well-studied. Far-field effects on the benthos may occur through a number of mechanisms, including aggregation of epibenthic macrofauna in culture sites, alteration of plankton communities, and the enhancement of exotic and indigenous pest species owing to the addition of physical structure to the environment. Quantitative relationships between farming level and benthic influences are lacking, making predictions of effects difficult.