Date of Graduation

Spring 5-14-2020

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)


College of Arts and Sciences


Environmental Management

First Advisor

Allison Luengen

Second Advisor

Amalia Kokkinaki


As seafood demand rises with the growing population, methods of providing sustainable and reliable protein are needed. Wild fishery stocks have decreased so aquaculture is seen as the way to meet these growing demands. The aquaculture industry has continued to grow 8.3% every year since 1970 primarily through using intensive cultivation of a single species creating negative effects on the marine environment. An increase in nutrients from these intensive cultivations can lead to eutrophication, a decrease in oxygen, and alter the ecosystem structure and biodiversity. Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) aims to offset the increased input of nutrients through fish farming by incorporating a balanced ecosystem using species from different trophic levels to mitigate waste and maximize crop yield. This paper will evaluate the different sub-systems within IMTA practices and identify the different metrics used to determine a species bioremediation potential and successful IMTA implementation. A species bioremediation potential is defined by the species ability to remove environmental pollutants. The ever-changing water and flow conditions of the open ocean inhibit the full potential of a species extractive abilities. However, these abilities can still be significant in reducing the nutrient loading from finfish cultivation. As experiments continue, models will be a necessary tool to test IMTA scenarios with more than one extractive species alongside a fed species. These models can be adapted in order to be used in aquaculture operations around the globe, but complex policies and negative public opinion have inhibited the development of sustainable aquaculture practices in the United States.

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