Fishery and habitat mapping (UAE)

Abu Dhabi is exploring the potential of expanding its aquaculture industry and has hired BMT to determine the environmental carrying capacity of three new aquaculture sites off the coast of Dalma Island in the Arabian Gulf.

5 December 2018

Water and Environment

Fishery and habitat mapping (UAE)

Abu Dhabi is exploring the potential of expanding its aquaculture industry and has hired BMT to determine the environmental carrying capacity of three new aquaculture sites off the coast of Dalma Island in the Arabian Gulf. 

Fishing is an important industry in the UAE – for employment and food. Historical data indicates that fish stocks are declining, which is of concern to the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment who are aiming to bridge this gap and resolve the growing issue of regional food security by developing a sustainable aquaculture industry.

Dr. Glenn Shiell, Marine Scientist at BMT explains: “Proposed aquaculture developments such as these, however important to food security, must be undertaken using the best possible tools for predicting both the instantaneous and cumulative effects of aquaculture, to provide the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) with confidence that the impacts are negligible, or if not small and entirely manageable.”

BMT will deliver a state-of-the-art approach to assess the potential impacts of sea cage operations in each of the three proposed sites. The advanced modelling techniques will be used to determine the environmental footprint of the proposed operation and the volume of livestock that can be farmed safely.  The 3D hydrodynamic model will cover seasonal fluctuations in currents, water temperature and salinities. The 3D water quality model will cover seasonal fluctuations in dissolved oxygen concentrations, fate and transport of nitrogen from proposed sea cages, biological assimilation of nitrogen and growth of microalgae. Finally, the use of our modelling tools, will enable BMT to determine how long it will take for the environment to recover once the fish farms are fallowed – this is a key consideration for the environmental management strategy.

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This article is part of #BestOfBMT (2018) campaign in which are featuring the most interesting projects BMT was involved in throughout the year.

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