The influence of oceanographic conditions and culture methods on the dynamics of mussel farming in Saldanha Bay, South Africa

Heasman , Kevin Gerald (1996) The influence of oceanographic conditions and culture methods on the dynamics of mussel farming in Saldanha Bay, South Africa. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

The principal aim of this study was to establish the biological and environmental parameters governing the successful and sustainable cultivation of mussels in Saldanha Bay. The environmental study investigated seston, chlorophyll-a and particulate organic matter (POM) levels, water temperature dissolved oxygen and salinity levels in the bay and water flow in and around the rafts. The biological part of the study investigated the efficiency of food extraction, growth rates, mussel condition, fouling and production and yield on a rope, raft and farm scale. Saldanha Bay is well suited for the culture of mussels, particularly Mytilus gal/oprovincialis and Choromytilus meridionalis. Water temperature and salinity in Saldanha Bay were found to be near optimal for mussel culture. POM and chlorophyll-a levels were found to be high due to primary production resulting from the nutrient rich upwelled water outside Saldanha Bay. The mean levels of chlorophyll-a (8,6,ug/l) represent 6%, by mass, of the total POM. On a bay scale the POM remained above the mussels maximum requirements (pseudofaeces threshold) during the study period. Mussels showed a preference for the phytoplankton portion of the POM. Approximately 40% of the chlorophyll-a was extracted from the water by the mussel farm. The efficiency of food extraction increased with mussel age. Rafts with seed mussels younger than 2 months, 3 to 4 months, 5 to 6 months and older than 6 months extracted 32%, 55%, 85% and 92 % of the available chlorophyll-a respectively. An increase of rope spacing on the rafts resulted in 37% more chlorophyll-a and 30% more particle volume reaching the lee of the raft. Ambient water currents in the bay show flow rates of up to 22cm per second. However, on entering a raft with a rope spacing of 60cm, the water flow is attenuated by 90%. Increasing the rope spacing to 90em resulted in a water flow attenuation of 72%. The increase in rope spacing ensures that the mussels in the centre of the raft are feeding on food levels close to, or above, the pseudofaeces level. Mussel growth rate at a rope spacing of 90cm is significantly improved as a result of the increased food delivery. There are other factors, however that effect mussel growth. Growth rates were found to be better in summer than in winter. The reduced winter growth rate is possibly due to competition with the maturing fouling organisms which settle in mid to late summer. Fouling by mussel spat and Ciona intestinalis is seasonal, occurring from December to May. C.intestinalis is prevalent in the centre of the farm and rafts as low energy waters are preferred by this species. Mussel spat settles mainly on the periphery of the farm and the rafts. Competition with fouling organisms reduces growth and increases mortality of the cultured mussels. Results indicate that the present spacing of rafts, (1 raft per hectare) is adequate under existing conditions. Any new farms should maintain batches of 50 rafts with channels between them to ensure water current penetration into the furthest reaches of the farm. Rope spacing on the rafts should be increased to between 60cm and 90cm. Mussel density should be regulated according to mussel size and fouling should be controlled to mai'ltain yields. )

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Mytilida, South Africa, Mussel culture
Subjects:S Agriculture > SH Aquaculture. Fisheries. Angling
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Ichthyology & Fisheries Science
ID Code:2350
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:13 Jan 2012 12:05
Last Modified:13 Jan 2012 12:05
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