mammals, and marine turtles using these coastal habitats; and the population consequences of any observed behavioral changes.
Finding: Effective integration of bivalve mariculture and wildlife conservation interests into marine spatial planning requires a better broad-scale understanding of the distribution of the birds, marine mammals, and marine turtles. Finer-scale studies are also required to characterize the behavior and ecology of individual birds, marine mammals, and marine and estuarine turtles around mariculture sites and in relation to the activities of mariculture workers.
Recommendation: Opportunities should be identified to assess mariculture impacts on these species through controlled studies that are conducted before and after the development of shellfish farms. Focused studies should be done to identify management approaches that best minimize potential impacts upon birds, marine mammals, and turtles.
Finding: While integrated pest management is the broader goal, it is rarely being implemented, and the ecology and effects of pests, predators, and control practices are rarely evaluated, especially at spatial scales larger than an individual farm or portion thereof (e.g., for burrowing shrimp in west coast oyster mariculture; Dumbauld et al., 2006).
Finding: Despite early progress and much success with protective devices, substantial mortality of cultured molluscs at early life-history stages is still observed, and research is still needed on tools and best management practices for controlling pests and predators. Benthic community changes associated with removing predators are also understudied and largely unknown, and the effects of excluding predators are little studied at the estuarine-landscape scale.
Recommendation: Opportunities to assess the effects of pest and predator control practices on the wider benthic community and implement integrated pest management at this larger spatial scale should be pursued, especially where shellfish farms might be expected to have an effect at this scale.