ABSTRACT: A current practice of marine aquaculture is to integrate fish with low-trophic-level organisms (e.g. molluscs and/or algae)
during farming to minimise effects of cultivation on the surrounding environment and to potentially increase economic income.
This hypothesis has been tested in the present article experimentally, by co-cultivating fish and mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) in the field. Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) experiments were started in July 2004 by transplanting mussel
seed at two depths (−3 and −9m) within 1,000m downstream to fish cages and at 1,000m upstream from cages. Mussels were
cultured in nylon net bags for 12months and the growth recorded biometrically. The outcome of our field experiment corroborated
the idea of IMTA effectiveness. In fact, in the study area, the organic matter from fish-farm biodeposition caused changes
in the chemical environment (i.e. controls and impacted sites were significantly different for organic matter availability
and chlorophyll-a) and this induced changes in growth performance of co-cultivated mussels. Mussels cultivated close to cages, under direct
organic emission, reached a higher total length, weight and biomass than mussel cultivated far from farms.
Hydrobiologia 04/2012; 636(1):129-136. · 1.78 Impact Factor