Tracking multiple pathways of waste from a northern bluefin tuna farm in a marine-coastal area

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Aquaculture of bluefin tuna in Mediterranean coastal waters has generated growing concern about the negative environmental effects. In the present isotopic study we examined the dispersal and fate of organic matter derived from a Mediterranean tuna farm in the surrounding environment. An overallenrichment in the heavy nitrogen isotope was found in the feed and in farmed tunas, indicating the input of isotopically traceable organic matter in the system. Waste was clearly traceable in the water column up to 1000 m from the cages, while only slight accumulation occurred in the sediment just below the cages. Waste was isotopically shown also to contribute to the diet of demersal and benthopelagic wildfish collected around the cages. As a result, waste undertook multiple pathways. In the water column its was diluted and dispersed due to hydrodynamism, which prevented great accumulation of aquaculturederivedorganic matter in sediments. In addition, biological constraints such as benthopelagic and demersal fish further prevented organic matter accumulation through the benthic trophic route.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-111
Number of pages9
JournalMarine Environmental Research
Publication statusPublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution


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