FACTORS AFFECTING IMTA (INTEGRATED MULTI-TROPHIC AQUACULTURE) IMPLEMENTATION ON ATLANTIC SALMON (SALMO SALAR) AQUACULTURE FARMS
Sickander, Omar Bradley Anthony
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Aquaculture operations are currently the fastest-growing food production industry, increasing output over 20 times in the past few decades alone. Waste management on “fed” aquaculture farms, like Atlantic Salmon, is a massive issue for management and public perception. Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) is the co-cultivation of species from different trophic levels instead of a single species (monoculture) on an aquaculture farm. From a theoretical perspective, in an IMTA farm, the metabolic waste and uneaten feed from the top-level species like Atlantic Salmon is used by lower-level trophic species like shellfish and macroalgae, minimizing the potential impact of these wastes on the ecosystem. Though this logic has long been used in polycultures in history, there is a theoretic rationale to support it commercially on a much larger scale. However, IMTA is currently not being applied as a mitigation measure in Atlantic Salmon aquaculture facilities. This graduate project explores and investigates current methods, applications, uses, and efficiency of IMTA to address challenges on salmon farms through an in-depth PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) method literature review. In addition to completing the literature review, industry experts were surveyed to understand industry perspectives on IMTA effectiveness and the potential for use. The main goal of this research was to determine the current standards and processes of IMTA and if it can be effectively implemented on Atlantic Salmon aquaculture farms in a commercially viable manner.