Paper: Biofouling in shellfish aquaculture: is it worth removing?

The global growth of farmed shell sh production has resulted in considerable research investigating how biofouling compromises farm productivity. Shell sh tness can be compared between fouled stock and stock which has undergone treatment. As treatment options are often harsh, they may deleteriously a ect stock. The projected impact of biofouling may therefore be confounded by the impact of treatments. Given the substantial cost of fouling removal, some have questioned the necessity of biofouling mitigation strategies. Meta-analysis revealed that biofouling typically reduces shell sh tness. However, the tness of treated stock was often lower or equal to fouled control stock, indicating that many common antifouling (AF) strategies are ine ective at enhancing farm productivity. Overall, caution and diligence are required to successfully implement biofouling mitigation strategies. The need remains for increased passive prevention approaches and novel AF strategies suitable for shell sh culture, such as strategic siting of bivalve farms in areas of low biofouling larval supply.


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Sievers, M., Fitridge, I., Bui, S. and Dempster, T. (2017) To treat or not to treat: a quantitative review of the effect of biofouling and control methods in shellfish aquaculture to evaluate the necessity of removal. Biofouling

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