OECD Model

In freshwater systems, phosphorus is usually the limiting nutrient that controls primary productivity. However, phosphorus is also an essential mineral for fish and most fish feed have phosphorus levels that are higher than required and the surplus is excreted or released to the environment as uneaten food. Thus, if production is not carefully managed, there is a risk of excess phosphorus loading to the environment which could lead to eutrophication. As part of the licensing and regulatory process there is a need to understand how fish production and waste inputs could affect the environment as this enables decision makers to decide on the allowed biomass for the site.

The OECD total-phosphorus mass-balance model (now known simply as the OECD (1982) model) was initially described by Vollenweider (1968), later refined for lakes by Vollenweider (1976) and ground-truthed for wider use by the OECD study (1982).

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) use a derived version of the OECD model (1982) to regulate freshwater cage aquaculture in Scotland. It has been paired with the Phosphorus Land Use and Slope (PLUS+) model for regulatory use to inform decisions related to changes in land and water use within Scottish freshwater loch catchments (Donnelly et al. 2011).




Suggested users: Aquaculture producers, regulators, certifiers, researchers.

Format: Empirical model, spreadsheet-based

Cost: Free

Data requirements: Lake characteristics, water quality

Time requirements: If data is available then it is quick to setup and run.

Required resources: MS  Excel

Prior knowledge: Some understanding of freshwater lake systems

Scientific papers and relevant literature

Donnelly, D. Booth, P. Ferrier, R. and Futter, M. 2011. Phosphorus Land Use and Slope (PLUS+) Model User Guide. James Hutton Institute and SEPA. Aberdeen 41pp.

OECD. 1982. Eutrophication of waters: Monitoring, assessment and control. OECD.

Vollenweider, R.A. 1968. Scientific fundamentals of the eutrophication of lakes and flowing waters, with particular reference to nitrogen and phosphorus as factors in eutrophication. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Paris, Tech. Report DA 5/SCI/68.27, 250p.

Vollenweider R.A. 1976. Advances in defining critical loading levels for phosphorus in lake eutrophication. Memorie dell' Istituto Italiano di Idrobiologia 33:58–83.