Modeling of waste dispersal associated with marine aquaculture production


  • Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Senior Fellow, Stanford Woods Institute
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Oliver Fringer
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Senior Fellow
  • William Wrigley Professor of Earth System Science
  • Senior Fellow, Stanford Woods Institute and Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
  • Professor, by courtesy, Economics
  • Senior Fellow and Founding Director, Center on Food Security and the Environment

We discovered that the state of the natural environment around fish pens can dramatically affect how far waste plumes travel from the source. This suggests that we should not simply assume 'dilution is the solution' for aquaculture pollution - Jeff Koseff

The loss of organic and inorganic wastes from net-pen aquaculture production is now a well-recognized environmental problem, but there remains little scientific understanding of the true nature of waste dispersal in marine environments, and no way to systematically predict or track where wastes might go.  This project, led by engineers and hydrological modelers, will assess the dispersal and fate of wastes emanating from open net-pens in marine environment through the development of fluid dynamic models. The simulation incorporates the influence of variables such as tides, currents, the rotation of the Earth and the physical structure of the pens in calculating the dispersal pattern of the waste.