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Simms, A.: GIS and aquaculture: Assessment of soft-shell clam sites. Journal of Coastal Conservation, 8: 35-48, 2002.


Abstract. The 1992 collapse of the northern cod fishery at Newfoundland, Canada and the subsequent closure of a majority of the inshore ground fishery has placed a focus on the development of aquaculture within the province. In May 1995 Innovative Fisheries Inc. of St. John’s, Newfoundland, conducted field studies to evaluate the soft-shell clam (edible bivalve molluscs) resources on three sand flats near Burgeo, Newfoundland. GIS can be used to examine issues regarding the development and management of the soft-shell clam beds. GIS can also be applied to examine the issue of ‘competing uses’ for the proposed soft-shell clam aquaculture site. The information presented in this study indicates that GIS is an important tool for the aquaculture industry. These systems can be used to monitor, quantify and evaluate the soft-shell beds near Burgeo. Management issues such as water quality, resource sustainability as well as the economic viability of the clam resource can be assessed within a GIS environment. The results of the analysis in this study suggest potential problems with faecal coliform contamination from local cottages. Finally, data collection for aquaculture site assessment is required if a resource is to be managed effectively. GIS applications provide insights into the quality of the physical environment as well as the sustainability of a resource. However, it is the aquaculture operators who ultimately make the final decisions.

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