For the second report, the committee will develop recommendations for best practices for shellfish mariculture to maintain ecosystem integrity. To this end, the committee will address the following questions:

  • What are the ecological effects of mariculture, and how do they vary in magnitude by duration, operation size, harvest intensity, species cultivated, habitat type, and geographic location (e.g., effects on carrying capacity, water clarity, physical disturbance, species shifts, diseases, benthic deposition)?

  • What are the uncertainties surrounding these ecological effects?

  • How do the ecological effects of mariculture compare with the harvest of wild populations?

  • Does shellfish mariculture reduce the harvest pressure on wild populations?

  • What are the risks for the spread of nonnative species, and how could these risks be reduced?

  • What socioeconomic factors influence the size and location of shellfish mariculture activities (e.g., “not in my backyard” [NIMBY] issues, economic parameters [permitting/leases for seabed, price stability, labor, transportation], local traditions)?

  • What are the most important subjects for future research to better understand and manage the ecosystem responses to mariculture operations?

The report will identify best management practices that could be employed to enhance the benefits of shellfish mariculture and minimize any negative ecological effects.

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