Environmental Impact Assessment (31/2013) study required by the expansion request of the fish farm Seawave Fisheries Ltd from 750 to 1500 tonnes / year

ca 7 months (August 2012 – March 2013)

Funded by:
Seawave Fisheries Ltd

Project Description:
Seawave Fisheries Ltd (annual production of 750 t) assigned MER to carry out an EIA for expanding production to 1500 t of gilt-head seabream (Sparus aurata) and European seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax). In 2013, MER submitted a comprehensive EIA (31/2013) report to the Department of Environment (DoE) where the expansion of farm to deeper waters was proposed. MER presented the EIA to the environmental committee and the DoE granted the production license of 1500 t/yr under certain conditions (e.g. the expansion to occur in deeper waters and gradually 1000 t in 2013, 1250 t in 2014-2015 and 1500 t in 2016).

MER implemented the EIA based on: a) the ” Environmental Impact Assessment of Certain Projects, Law (No. 104 (I) / 2005),” b) the corresponding document produced by the DoE with detailed instructions on writing the EIA, and c) the guidelines for preparing an EIA for aquaculture of the European programme titled Ecosystem Approach For Sustainable Aquaculture (ECASA). MER collected, evaluated and analyzed baseline data within the study area resulting from underwater surveys and bibliographical sources. Data analyzed relate to: a) the existing natural environment (climatic data, geology, hydrology, oceanography, air quality, noise and vibration), b) existing biological environment (habitats, marine flora – fauna, assessments of the ecological status of the marine environment), and c) human environment (maritime and coastal / inland activities, socio-economic data). The dispersion model MERAMOD was simulated in eight different scenarios (two seasons, two set-ups of cages, 3 conditions (current, future, worst)) to investigate: a) the dispersion of aquaculture waste produced from SW, b) the potential of any synergistic effects of aquaculture waste from SW and the other farms of Vasilikos area (BI, EMAT, TV) and c) of benthic impacts on the seabed. MER proceeded to a) identify, describe and assess the environmental and socio-economic impacts during the construction phase and operation of the proposed project, b) compare the two scenarios of implementation and non-implementation of the proposed project, and c) recorded public and stakeholders views related to the possible increase to SW’s production. In addition initial mitigation approaches were proposed and recommendations were made.