Application of 3D hydrodynamic and particle tracking models for better environmental management of finfish culture


Moreno Navas J, Telfer T & Ross L (2011) Application of 3D hydrodynamic and particle tracking models for better environmental management of finfish culture. Continental Shelf Research, 31 (6), pp. 675-684.

Hydrographic conditions, and particularly current speeds, have a strong influence on the management of fish cage culture. These hydrodynamic conditions can be used to predict particle movement within the water column and the results used to optimise environmental conditions for effective site selection, setting of environmental quality standards, waste dispersion, and potential disease transfer. To this end, a 3D hydrodynamic model, MOHID, has been coupled to a particle tracking model to study the effects of mean current speed, quiescent water periods and bulk water circulation in Mulroy Bay, Co. Donegal Ireland, an Irish fjard (shallow fjordic system) important to the aquaculture industry. A Lagangrian method simulated the instantaneous release of "particles" emulating discharge from finfish cages to show the behaviour of waste in terms of water circulation and water exchange. The 3D spatial models were used to identify areas of mixed and stratified water using a version of the Simpson-Hunter criteria, and to use this in conjunction with models of current flow for appropriate site selection for salmon aquaculture. The modelled outcomes for stratification were in good agreement with the direct measurements of water column stratification based on observed density profiles. Calculations of the Simpson-Hunter tidal parameter indicated that most of Mulroy Bay was potentially stratified with a well mixed region over the shallow channels where the water is faster flowing. The fjard was characterised by areas of both very low and high mean current speeds, with some areas having long periods of quiescent water. The residual current and the particle tracking animations created through the models revealed an anticlockwise eddy that may influence waste dispersion and potential for disease transfer, among salmon cages and which ensures that the retention time of waste substances from cages is extended. The hydrodynamic model results were incorporated into the ArcViewTM GIS system for visualisation and interrogation of results and to allow effective holistic environmental management and site selection for fish cage aquaculture.

3D hydrodynamic models; Fish-cage waste dispersion; Geographical Information Systems; Environmental management

Continental Shelf Research: Volume 31, Issue 6

Publication date30/04/2011