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Adapting Marine Finfish Aquaculture to a Changing Climate

Principal investigator

Project type
Znanstveno-istraživački projekti
Research Projects
Croatian Science Foundation
Start date
Nov 5th 2018
End date
Nov 4th 2022
Total cost
1299100 HRK
More information

Marine finfish aquaculture is an important industry in Croatia with significant growth potential. Since fish are cultured mainly in near-shore cages open to environmental conditions, their growth and well-being, and therefore the aquaculture production, is susceptible to climate change. The effects of the ongoing climate change are becoming increasingly visible, and threaten the viability and development of the aquaculture. AqADAPT will help turn the threats into an opportunity. Unlike post-hoc reaction that requires immediate substantial investments, preempting the changes by gradually adjusting the infrastructure and the farming process can help absorb costs into regular maintenance and investment cycles. To achieve this, however, a deep understanding of best adaptation measures is required. AqADAPT proposed to significantly contribute to that understanding by conducting fundamental research into imminent threats to the aquaculture, and creating a knowledge base for adaptation of the industry. The research will start by focusing on identification of key physical and biological challenges posed by climate change. Climate change may be thought of as a gradual change, but major effects of climate change are typically brought forth by affecting the frequency or severity of extreme events (e.g. reduction in extreme cold that enables invasive species to survive, or extreme weather that changes the habitat and/or reduces fitness of indigenous species).

To properly characterize the environment, we therefore need to understand both the long-term trends, and typical seasonal variations of the environment. Clearly the water column is the primary environment of the fish, but sediment can also play a significant role as a pool of microbial (or otherwise) contamination. Additionally, since water column and sediment are coupled, sediment can be used as a long-term record of conditions in the water column.

The project will therefore investigate both long-term historical trends, and the seasonal cycles in physical characteristics of the water column and sediments.

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