Aquaculture America 2023

February 23 - 26, 2023

New Orleans, Louisiana USA


Destinee Turnbull*, Herbert Quintero-Fonseca

University of the Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, USVI


Mariculture is defined as the cultivation of marine organisms for consumption and integration for pharmaceutical to cosmetic purposes. The lion’s paw scallop (Nodipecten nodosus) is indigenous to the Caribbean region and is regarded as a potential subject for molluscan mariculture. Low population rate is a contributing factor to the Caribbean’s minimal aquaculture activity, resulting in the absence of local scallop consumption in some areas. Predation, diseases, natural catastrophes, and extreme temperatures are all factors that contribute to the low survival rates of these species in aquaculture.

An undergraduate exploratory research study was conducted to analyze temperature values within the marine environment for determining the culture potential of such species, especially in the United States Virgin Islands (USVI). Therefore, the following question was proposed: Would the water temperature conditions within the USVI be appropriate for the scallops to thrive? A total of 10,978 data points provided by the Department of Planning & Natural Resources (DPNR) were analyzed by computing the mean, standard deviation, and coefficient of variance per month between 2010-2021.

The results demonstrated a similar pattern between each island independently in comparison to the overall view as a territory. Each island’s temperatures exceeded two degrees above the baseline temperature (ranging between 28?C - 30?C) starting from May through September, before slowly declining towards December (See Table 1). Integrating mariculture into the island’s economy would be favorable, and could potentially generate employment, revenue, and exports. Based on this analysis, the scallops would need to be cultured at greater depths in comparison to the water’s surface, and culture conditions could be closely monitored to ensure the scallops’ survival.