Aquaculture scope in Swansea lagoon

A RANGE of marine species could be farmed off the coast of Wales, within the proposed Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, according to a new report.

The sheltered, man-made lagoon, to be built out from the coast and enclosing a bank of hydro turbines, has strong aquaculture potential for farming mussels, oysters, scallops, clams, cockles and seaweed, the industry body Seafish found.

But trials would be needed to see how the shellfish and seaweed would grow inside the proposed development, the world’s first tidal lagoon power plant.

It would be the first time that offshore marine renewable energy generation has been combined with aquaculture, says the report, which was led by Martin Syvret (Aquafish Solutions) and Dr Andrew Woolmer (Salacia-Marine) in collaboration with industry partners.

The report, ‘Aquaculture Opportunities for Enclosed Marine Water Bodies – Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay Case Study’, uses Swansea Bay as a case study to examine wider opportunities for aquaculture in and around enclosed marine water bodies, such as ports, natural lagoons, estuaries, sea lochs and managed retreats.

An Aquaculture Site Scoping Matrix, which can be used by industry to identify further potential locations for aquaculture operations, accompanies the report.

The Seafish investigation also created a generic shellfish hatchery design aimed at tackling the shortage of shellfish seed that can be raised to adulthood by commercial shellfish farmers, an acknowledged bottleneck in the sector.

It is hoped that the industry will be able to use the hatchery design to help increase the supply of seed and boost production.

Lee Cocker, aquaculture manager at Seafish, said: ‘The prospect of sitting aquaculture within an area such as the world’s first tidal lagoon renewable power development is undoubtedly exciting; however, the findings of the project are also pertinent to other offshore renewables sites such as wind farms.

‘The project helps provide an overview of aquaculture species and techniques that could be considered in other marine enclosed water bodies, and the hatchery aspect has the potential to support a more general expansion of seed availability for UK aquaculture.’

Construction of the lagoon, expected to begin in 2018, will take four years, with the first power generated in year three.

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