Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) today released an independently reviewed report (2017-215) presenting a system for modeling and information on water quality conditions in Tasmania’s Storm Bay.
Research conducted by Australia’s national science agency CSIRO has developed a new coastal water quality model, to help make informed decisions based on accurate and timely information.
The model, presented in the Storm Bay Modeling and Information System report, simulates seawater circulation and nutrient dynamics in the Storm Bay area, including inputs from rivers, sewage and discharge from salmon farms, and interactions with marine ocean waters.
The modeling system was developed using a ‘digital twin’ approach; Any hypothetical model of a physical object or in this case, coastal waters off southeast Tasmania. The model predicts the observed turnover and water quality in coastal waters over multiple years and can be used to explore future scenarios with different levels of salmon farming.
FRDC Managing Director Dr Patrick Hoon said the model provides a high-quality scientific tool to help better understand what might happen in Storm Bay under various circumstances in the future.
“This model provides information on best management practices for Atlantic salmon farming in this region and provides detailed insight into potential changes to the coastal ecosystem in the future.
“As the Tasmanian salmon sector continues to innovate and develop, tools like this provide insight into what we might expect under different conditions and allow us to understand the potential impacts of potential changes to farming loads in the future,” said Dr Hon. .
Calibrated using observations from a previous project, this new model can accurately simulate local currents and water circulation, nutrient cycling, plankton and dissolved oxygen. To confirm the accuracy of the model, new continuous data were collected from moored water quality sensors placed on the bottom and surface of Storm Bay’s waters for extended periods. Underwater vehicle self-profiling has also been used to collect water quality observations around Storm Bay and in the open ocean, including one trip from Port Macquarie on Tasmania’s west coast.
Circulation, water quality and analysis simulation products from the new model are available at www CSIRO website. This data and analysis provides a much improved understanding of the entire marine environment within Storm Bay. The final project report is available at FRDC website.
Principal investigator from CSIRO, Dr. Karen Wild-Allen, said the project provided a new understanding of the key drivers of water quality in Storm Bay.
“The Storm Bay model showed that water quality in the region is strongly influenced by the inflow of marine-ocean water that contributes significantly to the seasonal and interannual variability in the system.”
“A better understanding of all the drivers of water quality will provide fish farmers and resource managers with the knowledge to support their strategic and tactical decisions.”
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