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Aquaculture facilities are required to submit annual summaries of water quality sampling and analysis to ensure they are following ministry set regulations for water quality. Sites are required to take a minimum of 11 samples each year.


The timing of water sampling should generally take place as follows: 3 in the spring at 5-day intervals, 5 in the summer at monthly intervals, and 3 in the fall at 5-day intervals. The number of required samples is dependent on whether the net-pen is attached to shore or offshore.


Water sampling stations must be located at the midpoints of the three open ends of cages anchored to the shore, while offshore cages require sampling stations at the midpoints of all four sides of cages.  In both cases these stations will be situated approximately 100 feet from the cages.


Additionally, Reference Sampling Stations are established for all sites in order to aid in the interpretation of near-cage water quality sampling results. If water sampling results reveal total phosphorous levels to be greater than 10ug/L, operators are required to consult with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) to increase frequency of sampling.


Sites with total phosphorous levels above the MNRF guideline must also undertake an operational audit and submit a plan to increase operational efficiency, or decrease the scale of the operation. 

Taking water samples from a number of reference points ensures that farmers and regulating bodies  are getting the "full picture" of environmental impacts of the site. It also helps to ensure that we are getting accurate samples. 

Example of Sampling Locations in Reference to a Net Pen

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