FARM Aquaculture Resource Management (FARM)

The production of cultivated shellfish such as mussels and oysters in estuaries and coastal systems is an important economic activity in many parts of the world. This website is designed for the farmer or for licensing purposes, in order to determine the appropriate shellfish density for optimal carrying capacity (the greatest sustainable yield of market-sized animals within a given time period). The intended scope of application is for shellfish farms, without application of artificial feed) in coastal and estuarine waters.

The FARM web-based simulation platform is being completely remodelled, and will include the following functionalities:

  • A full range of cultivated shellfish species, including various species of mussels, oysters and clams;
  • The ability to specify the weight of seed and harvestable animals;
  • Input prices for seed stock and product for cultivated shellfish species, including various species of mussels, oysters and clams;
  • Definition of food inputs which vary seasonally.

The web-simulation below provides a simple, uncalibrated example of the model capabilities. If you would like to use the detailed version of FARM as described in the publications below, please contact us.

The FARM and its environment

The water current is flowing from left to right, and transports suspended particles (TPM). This contains the natural food supply: algae - chlorophyll a (Chl a), and organic detritus - particulate organic matter (POM).

These are filtered and eaten by shellfish such as oysters or mussels. The FARM model allows you to calculate the yield of the farm based on:

  • Food supply;
  • Farm size;
  • Shellfish density;
  • Environmental parameters.

In the case of suspended culture, used e.g. for mussels in Europe and elsewhere, and for oysters and scallops in China, water flows across the ropes, lantern nets or other structures, where animals filter out the food particles. For bottom culture, used for oysters, mussels, clams and cockles in many parts of the world, FARM simulates water flows above the seafloor, and food particles being removed by animals living in the sediment or in 'reefs'.

Model Description


All input settings are labelled in blue. There are three types of settings: Environment, Farm Dimensions and Shellfish Stock.

Environment - The environmental parameters determine the food supply to the farm. These include the current velocity and the concentration of the various food sources - example values are given in the table. Please change these to the ones that apply to the region of your farm.

Farm Dimensions - The farm dimensions are a critical factor in determining carrying capacity at the farm scale. This model considers a rectangular farm - example values are given in the table. Please change these to the ones that apply to your farm.

Shellfish Stock - You can define the shellfish stock in three different areas of the farm (first, middle and last). The stock you define is considered to correspond to small animals at the start of cultivation. The first area is the left side in the diagram above, which is first exposed to the food supply. As the current flows to the right, food is depleted due to shellfish filtration. If you define more than three sections, the FARM model calculates the shellfish densities for each third of the farm length based on your stocking definitions - example values are given in the table. Please change these to the ones that apply to your farm.

You can also use the checkboxes to (i) See results with no shellfish and (ii) see results for the growth of only one animal in each area.

Model run

  • FARM uses three weight classes for shellfish: 0-10g, 10-20g and 20-30g (fresh weight);
  • The maximum modelling period is 3 years;
  • To run the model, hit the Simulate button;
  • With the default settings, FARM simulates a cultivation period of six months, and takes about one minute to run;
  • If you choose a faster current speed, a smaller farm, or more sections, the model will take longer to run - this is because when you have a finer spatial scale, calculations must be performed more frequently;

The model also simulates the concentration of dissolved oxygen. This is combined with chlorophyll for assessment of environmental impact using the ASSETS method.


All outputs are labelled in purple. After the model has run, results are produced for:

  • Chlorophyll and dissolved oxygen concentration;
  • Number of adult (harvestable) shellfish;
  • Adult shellfish biomass (or if you are looking only at one individual, the final total fresh weight of the individual).

These results are grouped into three sections (first, middle and last areas), together with overall data.

Saving and loading a model

The values you enter as inputs may be saved for future use. After you define the inputs, run the model to see the results. Then write your chosen model name in the Save model box and click the disk icon.

To load a previously saved model, choose it from the Open a model box. Models are saved on your computer (as cookies); this means that if cookies are disabled you will not be able to use this feature, and also that you will not be able to retrieve models saved on another machine.

Run the FARM model

Technical Information

For further technical information, the peer-reviewed publications listed below are available for download:

FARM in the Top 25 Hottest Articles

FARM has been rated 5th in the Top 25 Hottest Articles - Aquaculture Journal.

FARM Aquaculture Top 25 Hottest Articles

Terms of Use and Disclaimer

The FARM model uses state-of-the-art equations in order to determine farm-scale carrying capacity. There is currently no cost for usage. However, the authors cannot accept any liability for losses or consequential damages due to its application.

The model does not presently account for drag due to culture structures, and uses only unidirectional advective flow. The farm footprint due to organic enrichment of the sediment is not currently simulated.


For information regarding the FARM model or any other related question, please contact