Clean, sustainable, fish farming in the deep ocean—that’s the vision of the Atlantic Marine Aquaclture Center. Implicit in this is the importance of creating infrastructure and systems that weigh lightly on the environment. That’s why environmental monitoring has been a critical component of our work since the demonstration site was constructed. We have not detected a measurable impact on the surrounding environment since the project began.
Our team takes the environmental pulse of the surrounding ecosystem four times each year. With a high-powered winch, we extract box core samples from the bottom to gauge the abundance and diversity of the animals that lived burrowed in the ocean floor. Video shot by a camera towed above the bottom’s surface provides a window on still another community of organisms. The composition of the sediment also is the subject of scrutiny.
The water column is periodically sampled by an environmental monitoring buoy, developed and maintained by engineers from UNH and Woodshole Oceanographic Institute. The buoy’s instruments measure waves, water temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, chlorophyll, and particulate matter.
We will continue watching the environmental conditions very carefully as we scale up the operation to raise commercial-size populations of fish.