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Water Quality Improvements Through Shellfish Aquaculture Highlighted in NOAA Science Seminar Series

Published on: 04/23/2015
Primary Contact(s): suzanne.bricker@noaa.gov

A recent presentation highlighted a new NCCOS modeling study in Long Island Sound (LIS) and Great Bay Piscataqua Regional Estuaries (GBP) that focused on the water quality benefits of shellfish aquaculture. The presentation, ‘Eutrophication and Aquaculture;Shellfish can help the Bay!,’reported nitrogen removal estimates through cultivation of oysters equivalent to 1% of total nutrient inputs discharged into the estuary at current cultivation levels, and up to 3% of total nutrient inputs if cultivation areas were expanded which would be equivalent to removal efficiencies of traditional best management practices (BMPs).

The value of the nitrogen removed estimated in a ‘costs avoided’ method is about $1.2 million in GBP, based on costs incurred by wastewater treatment, and $8.5 – $230 million in LIS, depending on the removal approach used for calculation. In expanded cultivation scenarios, the removal benefits could be as high as $670 million in LIS and $4 million in GBP. At current cultivation levels, the additional income to shellfish growers would be about 6% of the value of the oysters if they were enrolled in a nutrient trading program.

This research was presented on April 8, 2015 as part of the NOAA Science Seminar Series.

For more information: Suzanne.Bricker@noaa.gov

Online access to the models: Assessment of Estuarine Trophic Status (ASSETS) eutrophication model ; Farm Aquaculture Resource Management (FARM) shellfish aquaculture mode

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