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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Enriching effects of Salmon farms in British Columbian coastal waters and the influence of flushing and seasonality Korman, Joshua


Water samples at two salmon farms of diametrically opposed flushing characteristics in the Discovery Passage area were collected during the summer of 1988 at increasing distances downstream from the culture operations. The main objectives were to determine if salmon farms in this region are leading to elevated concentrations of total ammonia and dissolved organic carbon in the vicinities of the farms, resulting in higher concentrations of phytoplankton and bacteria. Elevated surface total ammonia levels were observed in the immediate areas of the sites (i.e. < 10 m) at both locations, although the frequency of occurrence and the magnitude of the enrichment were greater at the area experiencing a weaker flushing regime. Chlorophyll a concentrations within the pens also appeared slightly higher compared to downstream levels during parts of the summer. The culture operations did not appear to have any effect on dissolved organic carbon and bacterial concentrations in the surrounding waters. The ability to detect elevated levels of ammonium in the vicinity of fish farms was shown to be influenced by ambient levels of nutrients and phytoplankton biomass. The rapid reduction of ammonium concentrations within 25 m downstream of the culture facilities suggests that declines in water quality resulting from fish farming activity in this area seems unlikely. The findings of this study should be viewed as preliminary in nature given the limited size of the sampling program employed.

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