CINTERA is "A Cross-disciplinary Integrated Eco-systemic Eutrophication Research and Management Approach" to Atlantic salmon aquaculture in Chile (Comau fjord system and Magallanes) and Norway (Hemnfjord, Frøya). Eurtrophication is the process by which water bodies receive excess nutrients that stimulate excessive algal growth. In some situations this can cause deterioration in water quality and impact the marine food web. The project goals were to develop basic scientific knowledge about eutrophication and ecosystem response to eutrophication, determine indicators useful for management and explore the adaptive capacity of coastal communities impacted by aquaculture.
The Cintera Project is now completed, although further work utilizing the data collected by the project is anticipated to continue.
Cintera researchers made a total of six sampling cruises in all seasons on the coast of Sør-Trøndelag and two in the Reloncaví Fjord in Chile. Biological, chemical and physical parameters and variables were observed, chemical and biological sample for analysis were collected and some actions such as filtration and solid state separation were performed. Concentrations of biomasses showed no sign that nutrient discharges from fish farms had a strong eutrophication effect in the area, as both chlorophyll and particulate organic nitrogen (PON) concentrations were in the ranges which can also be observed in unaffected waters. Some differences were observed in biomass and phytoplankton composition between outer coast areas and inner fjord areas, but further analysis is needed to know if these differences are linked to aquaculture effluents or mainly to natural variation. A theoretical estimate of volume based loading rate (VBR) of ammonium from the fish farms with a set current velocity showed values which may be within the range of annual natural fluctuations. Further studies of the current systems of the area will give an improved estimate on the VBR.
Cintera researchers also assessed possible effects of aquaculture on the phytoplankton and the biogeochemistry of Chilean fjords. The study shows that ammonium input indicated an effect on iron in the seawater and particulate matter, depending on the iron form and the microbial assemblage. Changes in the microbial composition due to ammonium addition may affect the cycling of iron, which can have negative or positive feedbacks on major biogeochemical cycles.
The CINTERA cruises in Norway and Chile provide important knowledge on the current baseline conditions in the two ecosystems. The results give a good general overview of the conditions in Norway, and suggest that we currently we do not see dramatic effects from aquaculture nutrients in Norway. But these baseline data can be used in assessing future conditions when aquaculture has increased. Research in Chile provided some indications that ammonium release from aquaculture can at times have a larger effect on primary production than in Norway and therefore the whole ecosystem because nitrogen limitation is the most likely nutrient limitation in the euphotic layer there. Both phosphate and nitrate/ammonium are low during the summer on the Norwegian coast, which may limit the effects of added ammonium because phosphate becomes limiting. But the ratio of nutrients may also have an impact on the microbiota, perhaps in combination with the amounts of other elements.
Cintera researchers carried out stakeholder workshop in the Hitra/Frøya region of Norway and in four locations in Chile: Santiago, Puerto Montt, Concepcíon and Punta Arenas. In both countries, the perceptions of a variety of different kinds of stakeholders (fishers, community representatives, environmental NGOs and fisheries managers) were investigated through stakeholder workshops employing a combination of techniques. The results of the two workshops were very different for Chile and Norway. Norwegian stakeholders proved to be optimistic even when faced with a scenario in which aquaculture in the region were to increase 10-fold. While no issues appeared to be critical, those that proved most important revolved around the need to integrate foreign workers in to local communities. Environmental and income issues were much less important than had been anticipated. In Chile, governance issues, such as the quality of public institutions and regulations, were ranked as key concerns by every stakeholder group, followed by the impact of aquaculture upon jobs and the environment. The Chilean results suggest a greater level of potential conflict and less adaptive capacity in that country compared to Norway.
Cintera concluded that Ti (titanium) and Cd (cadmium) were the most promising indicators of those considered for the detection of effluent from aqaculture activities. Particulate organic carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus also proved to be robust indicators of the general status of the ecosystem.
This is a cross-disciplinary study that will examine eutrophication driven by aquaculture in Norway and in Chile. It focuses first on establishing the basic scientific knowledge necessary for the management of eutrophication by filling in important gaps in knowledge about how nutrient and organic wastes from aquaculture systems distribute and accumulate in ecosystems, and how these nutrients and organic matter affect the structure and function of the ecosystem. Two sets of cases are selected: Hemnfjord and Frøya fjord (Hitra) (both in Sør Trøndlag) with high aquaculture activities, and some control cases in the same region with little aquaculture; and two fjords located in the Commune of Hualaihué, in region X of Chile (Región de los Lagos), correspond ing to the bio-geographical Province of Magallanes. Comparing the two fjord systems will allow us to examine a wide variety of conditions such as pH differences between Chilean and Norwegian Fjords and hence pursue potential interaction between ocean aci dification and eutrophicaiton. Samples will be collected during will be four seasonal cruises in Norway and two in Chile and analyzed in Norway and Chile. The project also adds a socio-economic component by assessing the ability of selected local communi ties in the study areas in Norway and Chile to adapt to eutrophicaton/aquaculture by looking at eutorphication/aquculture's potential to create conflict among stakeholders. This too is a comparative approach, allowing for comparisons across different eco logical and managerial settings, time and space. The concept of Consilience, the linking together and centering of principles and knowledge from different disciplines and sectors, is the foundation of the CINTERA project and is a signifier for its compar ative (ecosystems, socio-economic systems) and cross-disciplinary character: There will be close cooperation among natural and social scientists in three countries: Norway, Chile, and the United States.