Growth in shellfish, marine finfish, and seaweed production is being promoted aggressively in China to offset pressure on near-shore fisheries and to meet the country’s rising seafood demand. This project examines the potential impacts of large-scale mariculture infrastructure (pens, cages, and drift lines) on coastal processes and wild fisheries through the development of integrated hydrodynamic, sediment transport, and ecological models. With the direct involvement of leading aquaculture and marine scientists in China, the project aims to improve the siting and monitoring of coastal mariculture operations, and to provide policy guidance on intensive mariculture development that is compatible with the rehabilitation of wildfish stocks.
We will develop and employ a hydrodynamics model and associated nutrient-phytoplankton-zooplankton (NPZ) model to understand the impact of China’s large mariculture systems on flow, sediment transport, and food web dynamics. We will develop numerical models of shallow water embayments (where the mariculture systems are typically located) to examine how high-density farming alters local hydrodynamics, with a focus on the following questions: