Identifying the optimal depth for mussel suspended culture in shallow and turbid environments.

Identifying the optimal depth for mussel suspended culture in shallow and turbid environments.by Yann Godard and Louna Riem

Published by Charlotte Recapet the February 1, 2019 on 5:52 PM

Bivalve aquaculture is commonly carried out in shallow water where there is an important influence of winds, tide and currents. These factors can lead to the remobilization of particulate matter which is an important source of food for bivalves. However, the concentration of the particulate matter in water can be minimized by the filtration capacity of high density cultured bivalves. In order to improve the productivity of cultured bivalves, it is important to take into account these different parameters. Indeed, it will help to know where is the best place for bivalve’s growth.


Skive Fjord mussel farms - https://northsearegion.eu/watercog/pilot-projects/skive-fjord-dk/

A study conducted in a Fjord in Denmark suggests that the TPM (Total Paticulate Matter) in the environment of culture is very important for the growth of mussel. The autors have built two models to understand the mechanism:

  • The first model try to give a pattern of the vertical distribution of resuspended materiel by including, among others, the particles concentration at 1m above the seafloor
  • The second model allows seeing the growth mussel at different height in the water column and calculates growth rates. This is made under different scenario of food availability.

Both of these models allow determining the optimal localization of mussel in the water column for the better production.

Firstly, the authors have determined the characterization of seston in the long-term and in the short-term. They observe that there was important correlation between wind and TPM but with a lag of 9 hours. Thus, they say that the remobilization of particles is not depending of the wind in the farm but of the remobilization in another place in the fjord for the short-term seston characterization. These particles are then transported by water current until the Fjord. Moreover, a correlation is also observed between the chlorophyll concentration and the TPM but not between the water velocity and TPM.

For the long-term, they were able to highlight that the repartition of seston, and particulary phytoplankton in the water column was not homogeneous. There is a difference in concentration at the bottom and at the top with more phytoplankton at the surface (because of the lightening).

Secondly, the authors wanted to characterize the growth of mussels under different conditions of availability of food with the hypothesis that the concentration of phytoplankton is homogeneous in the water column. The results say that in reality, there is more phytoplankton in the surface, then, the growth in the top is not very well implemented in the model. They conclude that it is important to consider the position of bivalves in the water column for an optimal growth.

The dynamic energetic budget model shows that it is important to have a lot of phytoplankton and less detritus in order to get a better growth whatever the position of the culture. Moreover, this model allows showing that the variation of growth between the top and the bottom is only 2.6% which is negligible. They conclude this part by suggesting that “The reduced impact of height above the seafloor on mussel growth is related to the small contribution of resuspended material compared to the high background concentration of detrital matter”.

This study takes place in a Fjord where the conditions are highly variable (changes in the tide, current, wind…). This is not implemented in the model. Therefore, it could be interesting to add some hydrodynamics parameters in the model in order to adjust it. Moreover, to improve the model, it would be wise to include some biological mussel parameter like the energetic costs of pre-ingestive sorting and pseudofaeces production. This model could be experimented in different places and different moment to validate it.

Cited study: Filgueira, R., Grant, J., and Petersen, J. K. (2018). Identifying the optimal depth for mussel suspended culture in shallow and turbid environments. Journal of Sea Research 132, 15-23.

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