Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) growth modelling and indicators for offshore aquaculture in Europe under climate change uncertainty

Bela.H.Buck [ at ]


Aquaculture development in Europe, while critical to the European Union (EU) Blue Growth strategy, has stagnated over the past decades due largely to high competition for space in the nearshore coastal zone among potential uses and the lack of clear priorities, policy, and planning at EU and national scales. Broad Marine Spatial Planning, including the designation of Allocated Zones for Aquaculture, requires spatial data at the corresponding broad spatial scale, which has not been readily available, as well as model projections to assess potential impacts of climate change. Here, daily chlorophyll-a, water temperature, salinity, and current speed outputs from a marine ecosystem model encompassing the coastal North East Atlantic, the North Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea (the pan-European POLCOMS-ERSEM model configuration) are used to drive a Dynamic Energy Budget growth model of Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas). Areas broadly suitable for growth were identified using threshold tolerance range masking applied using the model variables mentioned above, as well as bathymetry data. Oyster growth time series were transformed into simplified indicators that are meaningful to the industry (e.g., time to market weight) and mapped. In addition to early-century indicator maps, modelling and mapping were also carried out for two contrasting late-century climate change projections, following representative concentration pathways 4.5 and 8.5. Areas found to have good oyster growth potential now and into the future were further assessed in terms of their climate robustness (i.e., where oyster growth predictions are comparable between different future climate scenarios). Several areas within Europe were highlighted as priority areas for the development of offshore Pacific oyster cultivation, including coastal waters along the French Atlantic, the southern North Sea, and western Scotland and Ireland. A large potential growth hot spot was also identified along northwestern Africa, associated with a cool, productive upwelling coastal zone. The framework proposed here offers a flexible approach to include a large range of ecological input data, climate and ecosystem model scenarios, aquaculture-related models, species of interest, indicator types, and tolerance thresholds. Such information is suggested to be included in more extensive spatial assessments and planning, along with further socioeconomic and environmental data.

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DOI 10.1016/j.aquaculture.2020.736116

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Palmer, S. C. J. , Barillé, L. , Kay, S. , Ciavatta, S. , Buck, B. H. and Gernez, P. (2021): Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) growth modelling and indicators for offshore aquaculture in Europe under climate change uncertainty , Aquaculture, 532 (736116) . doi: 10.1016/j.aquaculture.2020.736116

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