Co-Convenors: Katsuyuki Abo (Japan), Kevin Amos (U.S.A.), Galina Gavrilova (Russia) and Hyun Jeong Lim (Korea)
Open-water marine aquaculture has ongoing interactions with its surrounding environment. Some of these interactions have the potential to cause negative and positive effects on the other. For example, pathogens may be transmitted from wild reservoirs to cultured animals and vice versa with the consequence of disease and mortality. Another example is the dispersal of nutrients from a farm site which in some instances negatively impacts the benthos while in other areas may enhance a nutrient-deficient marine zone or contribute to the culture of another aquatic species. Also, changing marine environments, including those impacted by global warming and ocean acidification, have the potential to affect these ecosystem interactions so as to investigate the culture of new farmed species - species that may perform better in altered environments. The PICES Working Group on Environmental Interactions of Marine Aquaculture (WGEIMA) has been charged to evaluate existing and potentially new interactions and to develop models that assess the risk of these interactions to include escapes of farmed marine animals (considerations for genetics, competition, and pathogen transfer), discharge of effluent from culture facilities, use of non-native species in culture, and the exchange of pathogens between farmed and wild aquatic animals. Major goals of this workshop include: 1) discussion of tools and models currently used by member countries to assess types of interactions and risks posed by them; 2) developing consensus on aquaculture technologies and indicators of interactions that will be used in completing the terms of reference and preparing report of WGEIMA to include species and methods of culture; and 3) identifying the process by which the work will be carried out under the terms of reference.