The industry body Seafish has confirmed the potential for aquaculture in the proposed Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, which could be used to farm a range of marine species.
Seafish found the sheltered lagoon has strong potential for aquaculture, including farming mussels, oysters, scallops, clams, cockles and seaweed; all of which have local and international market potential, although trials would be needed to see how the shellfish and seaweed would grow inside the proposed development.
The report issued by Seafish, called Aquaculture Opportunities for Enclosed Marine Water Bodies - Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay Case Study and led by Martin Syvret (Aquafish Solutions Ltd.) and Dr Andrew Woolmer (Salacia-Marine) in collaboration with industry partners, stresses it would be the first time that offshore marine renewable energy generation has been combined with aquaculture.
The study uses Swansea Bay as a case study to examine wider opportunities for aquaculture in and around enclosed marine water bodies, such as ports, natural lagoons, estuaries, sea lochs and managed retreats.
The report is accompanied by an Aquaculture Site Scoping Matrix, which can be used by industry to identify further potential locations for aquaculture operations.
This project has also created a generic shellfish hatchery design aimed at tackling the shortage of shellfish seed that can be raised to adulthood by commercial shellfish farmers; an acknowledged bottleneck that has held back the expansion of aquaculture in the UK.
It is hoped that industry will be able to use the hatchery design to help increase the supply of seed and boost production.
"The prospect of sitting aquaculture within an area such as the world's first tidal lagoon renewable power development is undoubtedly exciting, however, the findings of the project are also pertinent to other offshore renewables sites such as wind farms,” pointed out Lee Cocker, Aquaculture Manager at Seafish.
The project helps provides an overview of aquaculture species and techniques that could be considered in other marine enclosed water bodies, and the hatchery aspect has the potential to support a more general expansion of seed availability for UK aquaculture.