AQUATIC RESEARCH, vol.2, no.2, pp.61-72, 2019 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)
The present study aimed to investigate the potential impacts of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus thynnus) farming in offshore cage systems in the Aegean Sea (Sığacık Bay-Izmir, Turkey), in respect to physico-chemical water quality parameters, nutrient loads, chlorophyll-a, total suspended solids, zooplankton groups, and TRIX index calculations for the potentially affected cage farm area and an unaffected reference site. Concentrations of physico-chemical variables (temperature, salinity, dis-solved oxygen, pH) in the study carried out in May and August 2018, were within the acceptable limits for marine aquaculture in terms of water quality characteristics. The concentrations of PO4-P, NH4-N, and NO2-N showed no temporal or spatial changes, and were recorded below 0.01 mg/L (<0.01) for PO4-P and NH4-N, whereas lower than 0.005 mg/L (<0.005) for NO2-N values in both cage and reference stations in May and August 2018 periods. Results showed low levels of TSS (0.33-11.87 mg/L), both in the cage farm area and the reference site, remaining below the general quality criteria of 30 mg/L for marine environment. No eutrophication risk (TRIX index, T<4) was observed around the Tuna Cage Farm Site in Sığacık Bay, according to the legislations enacted for “Sensitive Areas of Enclosed Bays where fish farms are not allowed”. Based on these findings, demonstrating highly interactive trophic level variability, it can be concluded that the impacts of the Tuna Cage Farm were not significant, possibly due to the consistent movement of the water in cur-rents in the study area.