Development of natural resources in recent years has encouraged the growth of mariculture business in estuaries and in the coastal zone. This particular application uses floating cages or rafts to grow fish and shellfish for our tables. This method has enabled scales of economy which significantly reduce the cost of the product to the consumer and the impact on natural sources.
These businesses utilise the natural flushing at the locations in which they place their cages and rafts. As is the case with all exploitation of the natural environment, gain comes at a price and studies need to be undertaken to assess the benefits and costs (financial and environmental) of these activities to ensure that sustainable management policies can be implemented and maintained.
It is very important that environmental impact assessment studies are carried out to predict the likely excursion of waste products from the production and that feed dispersal is kept to a minimum, thus reducing its impact on other areas in the local marine environment.
CFD studies are used alongside field measurement of local tidal currents and food availability. We then use the CFD models to produce simulations of the fate of the potential pollutants from the facilities (fin-fish cages) or the levels of phytoplankton depletion (mussel rafts) which might be expected with various raft configurations, designs and seeding densities. We can use FLOW-3DŽ to predict the relative concentration of the materials discharged in the local zone and also input this data into larger scale coastal-tidal models of the environs around the site to test far-field effects and feedback into the EIA studies and measurement programmes.