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MARINFORSKHAV-Marine ressurser og miljø - havmiljø

ANTIfoulants, VEterinary mediciNal products and Organic Material can affect marine sediment organisms, but to what extent?

Alternative title: ANTIbegroingsmidler, VEterinærmedisiNer og Organisk Materiale kan påvirke organismer i marine sedimenter, men i hvilken grad?

Awarded: NOK 10.8 mill.

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2020 - 2024


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Salmonid aquaculture is of national importance for Norway as it is the second largest export industry after oil and gas. To produce the amount of salmon needed to meet the increasing global demand requires significant resources. These include ensuring that the infrastructure of the fish farm is maintained, the fish are fed sufficiently to ensure adequate growth, and to avoid fish disease such as sealice infestations. Infrastructure can be impacted by biofouling which can reduce the flow of water through the fish pens, and this needs to be prevented using antifoulants impregnated into the fish nets. Ensuring sufficient growth of the fish means that they need to be fed optimally, but some of the uneaten food, and also feces, end up being deposited on the seabed around the fish farms. Finally, fish diseases, such as sealice infestations, need to be treated with veterinary medicinal products. As a consequence, these three sources of inputs to the environment (antifoulants, organic material and veterinary medicinal products) can have adverse consequences on the natural environment, but there is limited understanding about to what extent they may be having, particularly on sediment dwelling organisms. Therefore, the purpose of ANTIVENOM is to develop new tools to be able to determine the combined effects of these stressors on the marine sediment environment. The different work packages of ANTIVENOM go beyond the traditional effects and risk assessment required for aquaculture. The project will provide a paradigm shift, via a holistic approach, to establish whether the effects that aquaculture might be having on the environment are either over or under-estimated. ANTIVENOM is led by NIVA in close collaboration with the national partners Akvaplan-NIVA and Åkerblå and the international partners in the Netherlands (Wageningen Environmental Research [WER] and Deltares). The main research focus is the development of bioassays with different species such as starfish, sea urchins and sea squirts as well as using more standardized marine bioassays. So far 2 research stays abroad have been carried out by the PhD student, one in Sweden and another at Wageningen. The latter was to conduct a 28 day mesocosm experiment with a multitrophic battery of marine and sediment dwelling species. The mesocosms were dosed with the antifoulant Copper (via the diet) and a spiked food (commercially available fish feed) exposure of emamectin benzoate (veterinary medicine). The experiment was completed in November 2022. Another microcosm experiment was also conducted in 2023 with a modified battery of species and test design. This was carried out at NIVA’s marine field station at Solbergstrand. Field campaigns (2021 – 2022) have been employed to obtain sediment samples around fish farms in Norway for verification of the different chemicals of interest. The farms sampled cover a broad geographical stretch covering a large area of the Norwegian coast. These data are currently being analysed, along with diversity and species sensitivity data from the same sites. For modelling work on fishfarms and the effects of veterinary medicines, organic matter and antifoulants the partners Deltares and ApN continue to develop the models (FVCOM and MAMPEC).

The ANTIVENOM project will investigate whether the use of chemicals in aquaculture is having a significantly greater impact on the environment than previously considered, and if existing guidance on the assessment of risk is sufficient to cover specifically acting chemicals or the combined effects of multiple chemicals. The project seeks to gain a greater understanding of the hazards and risks of current chemical use practices in aquaculture. The generated knowledge will serve as a basis for recommendations to improve effect and environmental risk assessments (ERAs) of veterinary medicines and antifoulants used in aquaculture to support future sustainable practices within the industry. The project focuses on assessing the single and combined effects of chemicals, in combination with the contribution of organic matter, on non-target sediment organisms, using non-standard bespoke hazard assessment strategies. These strategies will be based on data gathered through the quantification (monitoring) and modelling of these chemicals to ensure realistic exposure scenarios. It is envisaged that the science delivered through the ANTIVENOM project will support and influence policy makers on the changes necessary to improve ERA of chemicals used in aquaculture, and to ensure better protection and mitigation of the impacts to the marine environment from aquaculture practices. We will achieve this by bringing together an interdisciplinary team of experts. Specific outcomes will be to improve the regulatory frameworks and guidance documents for veterinary medicines and antifoulants, by proposing new sediment toxicity tests and testing requirements that are most relevant for the protection of northern European marine waters. The involvement of key stakeholders from industry and government agencies within the project will aid in guiding the project to ensure a balance between scientific development, sustainability and regulatory, ethical, social and economic considerations

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MARINFORSKHAV-Marine ressurser og miljø - havmiljø