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Long Island Sound Study Hosts International Workshop on Ways Shellfish and Algae Harvesting Can Improve Water Quality

Note to media: Best time to attend workshop will be Friday from 12:30 to 3 p.m.

Stamford, Dec. 2, 2009—An international roster of scientists, including speakers from Sweden, Chile, and Canada, will discuss how cultured shellfish and seaweed can improve water quality at a two-day workshop on Dec. 3 and 4 at the University of Connecticut at Stamford.

The International Workshop on Bioextractive Technologies for Nutrient Remediation in Long Island Sound will explore new technologies to improve water quality by reducing nutrients in Long Island Sound. An overabundance of nutrients in coastal waters leads to hypoxia, a condition in which low dissolved oxygen threatens fish health and undersea plant life. Resource managers can use cultured shellfish to feed on nutrient-rich microscopic plankton (including organically bound nutrients) or can harvest cultured seaweed such as kelp to reduce inorganic dissolved nutrients directly.

The new technologies could be used to complement existing nitrogen control efforts, including upgrading wastewater treatment plants or reducing fertilizer applications, as part of a comprehensive watershed management plan for Long Island Sound.

The workshop will join experts in seaweed and shellfish cultivation involved in integrated multitrophic aquaculture (IMTA), resource economics, and coastal modeling with local partners to discuss the potential benefits of these technologies to the Sound and other urban estuarine environments. The first day and a half will feature speakers describing recent advances in this field. The remainder of the second day will involve a panel discussion of local scientists and resource managers to discuss the opportunities and challenges to bringing bioextractive technologies to the Sound.

Participants will include Odd Lindahl, a Swedish marine ecologist who is using the bio-filtration capacity and environmental ecosystem services of mussel farming in Sweden as a management tool to improve coastal water quality. In addition to harvesting mussels for human consumption, Lindahl’s research examines the use of mussels in organic feed and as organic fertilizer. Also participating will be Stephen Cross, a scientist in British Columbia whose program focuses on the design and testing of IMTA systems as an organic and ecological approach to coastal aquatic food production. He has recently launched a commercial facility that incorporates these designs off the coast of Vancouver Island. Alejandro Buschmann, a leading expert in seaweed aquaculture and coastal management from the University of Los Lagos, Chile, will also introduce the opportunities for using extractive technologies in managing nutrients in the coastal zone.

The workshop is being sponsored by the Long Island Sound Study (LISS) with the assistance of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission, and the University of Connecticut. LISS is a cooperative effort created by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the states of Connecticut and New York to protect and improve the health of the Sound. It involves researchers, regulators, user groups and other concerned organizations and individuals. For more information, including viewing the agenda, full speaker biographies, and directions, visit www.longislandsoundstudy.net.

Download the press release pdf document.

View the speakers’ posters and presentations

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