Bioremediation of organically enriched sediment deposited below fish farms with artificially mass-cultured colonies of a deposit-feeding polychaete Capitella sp. I


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ABSTRACT:  For bioremediation of organically enriched sediment deposited below fish farms, the extremely high potential for population growth of a deposit-feeding polychaete, Capitella sp. I, in the organically enriched sediment, and the effect on decomposition of organic matter in the sediment, were examined. A mass-culturing technique was conducted for this species. Bioremediation experiments were conducted on the organically enriched sediment in a fish farm in Kusuura Bay, Japan in 2003–2006. Approximately 1.7 million individuals of the worms were placed on the sediment below one net pen in December 2003, 9.3 million individuals in November 2004, and 2.2 million individuals in November 2005. After the worms were spread on the sediment, they rapidly increased in number and reached the highest densities of approximately 134 000 inds/m2 in February 2004, 527 000 inds/m2 in March 2005 and 103 000 inds/m2 in January 2006. In the process of rapid population growth, the decomposition of the organic matter of the sediment was enhanced markedly. Our results demonstrate that the promotion of population growth by spreading cultured colonies of Capitella can enhance the decomposition rate of organic matter markedly in organically enriched sediment below fish farms. This method is promising for minimization of the negative effects of fish farms.