A diver researching aquaculture cages. (Photo: Bioges.ulpgc.es)
Software tool for assessing environmental impact of aquaculture
Friday, June 01, 2012, 23:40 (GMT + 9)
A team of researchers from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) are working on the design of a computer programme to assess the environmental impact of aquaculture.
In addition, the proponents of the initiative claim that this programme will help minimize the effects of aquaculture and the potential conflicts with other ocean uses.
It is expected that the new software becomes available in 2013 so that the management companies and centres related to aquaculture in the Archipelago may implement it, said Fernando Tuya, a researcher at the ULPGC.
Tuya also works as a coordinator in the top centre of Macaromod project, which involves scientists from the Canary Islands, Azores, Madeira and Cape Verde.
"It implies building a model that allows us to model organic matter spread around fattening culture cages," explains the scientist.
The researchers at the University from Gran Canaria, of the Centre for Biodiversity and Environmental Management (Bioges) and of the Department of Biology have been working on the project for over two years.
Tuya explained that "the organic matter residue spread, generated by the remains of the feed with which farmed fish are fed and their feces, can lead and produce impacts."
Depending on farming and hydrodynamic conditions, the programme, which is in a 70 per cent developmental stage, will contribute to "model the affection level of that particulate matter" in a certain aquaculture use, La Provincia reported.
Meanwhile, in various parts of the world similar models are implemented although none of the current ones may be adopted in the Canaries.
In this regard, the ULPGC scientist stated: "The important thing is to develop a system that suits farming, hydrodynamic and climatic conditions typical of the islands. We need to validate and adapt the system to the specific characteristics of the Archipelago."
The lecture series ‘Sustainability and Environmental Management of Marine Aquaculture,’ organized by the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Cabildo of Gran Canaria and Environmental Research Centre of the Atlantic (CIMA SL), between 31 May and 1 June, was helpful as the framework for the presentation of the project.
The Macaromod project 'Organic matter spread in aquaculture farms: development of a mathematical model to ensure environmental sustainability', is part of MAC Transnational Cooperation Programme (2007-2013), co-financed with FEDER funds.
By Analia Murias