UK marine survey company Partrac has recently provided sea bed erosion data to the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), for a project aimed at upgrading a fish waste dispersion model (NewDEPOMOD).
Used by the Regulator to underpin the consenting process for the domestic aquaculture industry, the NewDEPOMOD model should contribute to the industry’s growth strategy for aquaculture in Scotland to 2030.
Partrac worked in conjunction with scientists from SAMS, Oban, and led a series of offshore data collection programmes at 11 commercial marine aquaculture sites off the Scottish west coast. The work involved the use of benthic flume technology to measure seabed erosion parameters, which the model needs in order to compute waste erosion, settling and dispersion.
Benthic flumes are devices that are deployed to rest on the seabed and can be used to apply a controlled flow stress onto the surface of submerged sediments, and thereby determine the stability directly. Two flumes of the Voyager series were deployed at fish farm sites collecting data on seabed erosion parameters at organically impacted locations.
Dr Kevin Black, technical director at Partrac said, “All models require input data to work properly, and it is key that data inputs from the real world are used in the model where possible so that they are as accurate as we can make them. The deployments of the flumes, in waters up to 40 m depth, has never been undertaken before at fish farm sites and the new data collected will now help us to improve the seabed erosion module within the NewDEPOMOD model. Seabed erosion parameters for materials such as fish waste need to be measured as they cannot be derived any other way; this project, in particular, serves to illustrate our commitment to bringing innovation and technology to develop solutions for clients”.