Modeling sea cage outputs for data-scarce areas: application to red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) aquaculture in Mayotte, Indian Ocean

Robust and accurate prediction of fish farm waste is a first and crucial step in managing the cause-effect chain that leads to local environmental impacts of aquaculture. Since aquatic production is diversifying with new fish species and extending to new areas for which data can be scarce, it is important to develop parsimonious approaches with fewer data requirements and less scientific complexity. We developed the Farm productIon and Nutrient emiSsions (FINS) model, which simulates fish farm operation and estimates fish biomass, feed inputs, and waste emissions from sea cages using simple modeling approaches and a variety of data sources. We applied FINS to red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) culture in Mayotte by collecting relevant input data (growth, digestibility) from experimental trials. Three explorative farming scenariossmall, medium, and largewere defined from field survey data to examine and compare emissions of a range of potential commercial culture conditions and production scales (23, 299, and 2079tyear(-1), respectively). Comparison of the three scenarios showed that waste emissions per ton of fish harvested during routine operations, and thus environmental impacts, were higher for longer culture cycles (medium farm) because of lower feed conversion efficiency. The FINS model is a simple alternative tool to assess and compare environmental impacts of different farming systems and practices for new aquaculture species and regions. It provides important drivers to assess local environmental impacts of fish farms and can therefore facilitate the process of licensing new farming systems for decision-makers.


Aquaculture waste modeling, CNP mass balance, Farming scenarios, Feed digestibility, Individual-based growth model, Red drum

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ESM 1 Sizes of feed pellets simulated in three red drum farm scenarios (small, medium, and large), expressed as percentages of total annual feed inputs
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How to cite
Chary Killian, Fiandrino Annie, Coves Denis, Aubin Joel, Falguiere Jean-Claude, Callier Myriam (2019). Modeling sea cage outputs for data-scarce areas: application to red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) aquaculture in Mayotte, Indian Ocean. Aquaculture International. 27 (3). 625-646.,

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