Future land-use scenarios and links to South West aquaculture


new paper published by SWEEP academics considers the effect of land-use change on water quality and the marine aquaculture (mariculture) sector. This paper explores how current and future land-use changes in the South West are likely to act as a constraint to shellfish mariculture and influence its ongoing viability in the region.

Over one hundred stakeholders – representing views from farming, waste and water industries, conservation authorities, environmental regulators and academic researchers – gave their views and insights on likely future scenarios for rural land-use management in South West England at a special session of the SWEEP Expo 2020. These views were combined with a synthesis of the current literature to develop realistic best- and worst -case land-use change scenarios, over the next 10-30 years, including for climate change effects.

The viability of the South West’s estuarine and marine shellfish aquaculture sectors, and their potential for growth, are particularly affected by poor water quality. Recreation, tourism and water industries are also affected, and combine to form vital components of the South West economy. The main water quality issues currently affecting the viability of shellfish mariculture are faecal material from agricultural runoff and municipal wastewater discharges. Emerging pollutants with the potential to impact on mariculture include a range of chemicals, including biocides, pesticides, veterinary and human medicines.

The future land-use/management scenarios feed into modelling developed under the SWEEP project Water Quality & Aquaculture which seeks to better understand the effect of water quality changes on downstream stakeholders.


James L. Webber, Charles R. Tyler, Donna Carless, Ben Jackson, Diana Tingley, Phoebe Stewart-Sinclair, Yuri Artioli, Ricardo Torres, Giovanni Galli, Peter I. Miller, Peter Land, Sara Zonneveld, Melanie C. Austen, A. Ross Brown, Impacts of land use on water quality and the viability of bivalve shellfish mariculture in the UK: A case study and review for SW England, Environmental Science & Policy, Volume 126, 2021, Pages 122-131, ISSN 1462-9011, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2021.09.027.

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