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|Quantifying and modelling of the nitrogenous wastes associated with the commercial culture of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua L.)
|Oliver, Robert L.A.
|Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua L.)
|Institute of Aquaculture
University of Stirling
|In Scotland, environmental regulation restricts commercial cod culture to the equivalent of 66 % of that granted for commercial Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) farms. This calculation is based on estimations of nitrogen discharge from the difference in protein content between salmon and cod diets, with the higher levels of protein in cod diets suggesting a higher nitrogen discharge compared to that observed for salmon diets. In turn, this could potentially result in increased nitrogen enrichment of a marine ecosystem. The aims of this study (quantifying and modeling of nitrogenous wastes associated with the commercial culture of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua L.) were achieved through a series of tank and cage investigations, each of which studied juvenile and adult Atlantic cod. The study provided data with respect to nitrogen excretion from juvenile and adult fish in both systems. This would allow the development of dispersion models and the calculation of nitrogen budgets for commercial cod culture, thus providing environmental regulators data independent of salmon models to create regulations that would be specifically applied to cod farming. The tank - based studies investigated three diet formulations produced by EWOS® Innovation in Norway, as a 4 mm pellet (juvenile study) and as a 7 mm pellet (adult study). The three iso -energetic diets varied primarily in protein content (40 %, 50 % and 60 %). Two tank studies, one on juvenile and one on adult cod, investigated growth, condition and tissue composition, and the production of dissolved nitrogenous wastes over a 5 and 7 month period respectively. At the beginning of the acclimation period prior to the adult tank study commencing, the fish had a mean weight of approximately 1275 g. The difference in the final weight promoted by each diet was not significant (with an approximate final weight of 2400 g), suggesting that a low protein diet (40 % protein) promoted similar growth to a high protein diet (60 % protein). Other growth and condition parameters were also similar for all diets with the condition improving over the course of the study. As the fish completed spawning immediately prior to the commencement of the study, an increase in condition was not observed until approximately day 90 of the 210 - day investigation. Over the course of the 5 - month juvenile study, growth was approximately 224 g for the 40 % protein diet and approximately 275 g for the 50 % protein and 60 % protein diets. This suggests that a higher protein diet is required for optimal growth of juvenile cod and that 50 % and 60 % protein diets promote similar growth and condition, potentially reducing the protein requirement of juvenile diets. In the juvenile investigation, condition increased over the full range of the study. In both tank studies, nitrogen digestion was directly related to protein (and associated nitrogen) content of the diets in the juvenile study expressed as a percentage of the nitrogen content of the diet as 59.19 % (40 % protein), 56.90 % (50 % protein) and 52.23 % (60 % protein) suggesting that nitrogen digestion is more efficient at lower protein content in the diet. When expressed as a percentage of the nitrogen content of the diet, nitrogen digestion observed in the adult study was 60.55 %, (40 % protein) 60.92 % (50 % protein) and 60.60 % (60 % protein) respectively, suggesting protein digestion is similar regardless of protein content in adult cod. In the adult tank study, under a manual feeding regime, a post - prandial - peak is observed at 105 min. following the cessation of feeding. Thereafter, ammonia levels drop over the course of the sampling period. Following the afternoon meal commencing at 420 min., ammonia levels rise at least until the final samples are collected at 450 min. Under an automated regime, a lesser post - prandial - peak is observed but the ammonia concentration is lower over the sampling period compared to the respective profile under a manual regime. The ammonia profile produced throughout the juvenile tank study follows a very similar trend to that observed in the adult study under the manual feeding regime. Two cage - based investigations took place at the No Catch® Ltd. commercial organic cod farm in Vidlin Voe on the east coast of Shetland. Both studies investigated growth, condition and tissue composition, as well as the production of dissolved nitrogenous and particulate wastes associated with the culture of juvenile and adult Atlantic cod in cage systems. Sampling for the adult study occurred over three days during three sampling trips (September 2005, November 2005 and February 2006). Sampling for the juvenile study took place over three days on a single trip to Vidlin in late April 2006. The diets used at No Catch® Ltd. were produced by Biomar® in Grangemouth. A relationship between feeding and ammonia concentration is less evident in the cage studies than in the tank studies, and similarly, the relationship between feeding and ammonia concentration is less evident in juvenile fish than in adult fish. As ammonia values were converted to (µg/L/tonne biomass), the ammonia concentration recorded is largely dependent upon the biomass of the sampled cages at both the nursery site and production site. Deposition rates of organic carbon and nitrogen around the production and nursery cage sites in Vidlin Voe are related to the position of the sediment trap relative to its location and proximity of the trap to the specific cage site. Weather condition also had an impact on deposition rates with calmer weather producing lesser deposition rates. Around the production site, deposition rates of organic carbon and nitrogen are greatest in the direction of the prevailing current. Deposition rates decrease with an increasing distance from the cages. Although sediment trap results were inconsistent, a similar trend is observed for each of the three sampling trips, although actual deposition values were different. Differences between the deposition rates at the highly dynamic production site and the low energy nursery site indicated that sedimentation of waste from cod culture is highly dependent on water currents. Models of particulate waste deposition associated with the production cage site in Vidlin Voe were produced using the spreadsheet - based Cage Aquaculture Particulate Output and Transport (CAPOT) model, developed at the Institute of Aquaculture. The models were parameterised using the data collected and tested against an established regulatory model, DEPOMOD. The similarity in results illustrated the robustness of the highly flexible spreadsheet waste model for cod culture.
|Thesis or Dissertation
|School of Natural Sciences
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