World Aquaculture Society Meetings

Add To Calendar 20/02/2017 14:45:0020/02/2017 15:05:00America/ChicagoAquaculture America 2017ECONOMIC, ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL BENEFITS OF IMTM IN THE PERSIAN GULF Room 13The World Aquaculture Societyjohnc@was.orgfalseanrl65yqlzh3g1q0dme13067DD/MM/YYYY

ECONOMIC, ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL BENEFITS OF IMTM IN THE PERSIAN GULF

Michael J. Risk*, S. Abbas Haghshenas, Craig Down, and Azadeh Razavi Arab
 
McMaster University, Canada, riskmj@mcmaster.ca

Large-scale and intensive mariculture of finfish is inevitable along the Iranian coastline of the Persian Gulf. Finfish mariculture at the proposed sites poses a serious threat to the environmental integrity of over 1,800 kilometers of Iranian coastal and marine ecosystems. However, mariculture of finfish is an increasingly critical contribution to the nation's food security, as well as ameliorating public health. This is why Iranian Fishery Organization is  promoting finfish aquaculture in offshore cages over the coastline of the Persian Gulf.

Sustainable mariculture implies that operations have a negligible impact on the surrounding environment.  When a mariculture operation is destructive to the surrounding environment, this operation may have a lifespan of less than 5-10 years before the operation either becomes self-negating (environmental conditions deteriorate so it can no longer support commercial operations), or governments intercede and severely limit or prohibit operations.  The two major mechanisms by which a commercial mariculture operation threatens environmental sustainability are chemical and eutrophic pollution.  The most significant pollution from commercial mariculture is eutrophic pollution: the input of nitrogen and phosphorous into the environment, shifting the equilibrium from one that is usually oligotrophic to one that is detrimentally eutrophic. As a measure of Ecological Conservation and protection of coral reefs, sea turtles, and sea grass beds, a feasibility study for the site selection of the cage farms and the development of an Integrated Multi-Trophic Mariculture system (IMTM) is proposed. IMTM is the primary environmental conservation tool in not only mitigating, but preventing the environmental destruction brought on by eutrophic pollution from finfish mariculture operations. IMTM preserves biodiversity by alleviating fishing pressure of wild fisheries, reduces or eliminates the reliance of net-caught "trashfish" as mariculture fish food, reduces the need for destructive fishing practices, and reduces anthropogenic-usage loads for coral reefs. Furthermore, IMTM is a humanitarian effort that provides economic participation of traditional-fishing coastal communities by providing employment and co-localized services and industries. Successful IMTM operations will also allow the government to enact more stringent regulations for the extraction of wild fisheries and protection of coral reefs while having a positive effect on the industries that rely on these natural resources. The application of IMTM is considered the vanguard of environmental sustainability and commercial viability in mariculture. We have run several hydrodynamic models to assess the rate of pollution dispersal from IMTM operations, and results are summarized herein. This paper summarizes the attempts which have done to achieve an Environmentally Sustainable Integrated Multi-Trophic Mariculture System in the Northern Persian Gulf Coastlines.

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