With global demand for seafood increasing, aquaculture elevated to the forefront as a way to meet that demand and protect wild fish populations. But does aquaculture expansion provide the solution to these demands or create unforeseen problems? Can you build environmentally friendly aquaculture operations that serve consumers without long term harm?
Fortunately, increased awareness and scrutiny combined with improved technology, point towards an industry that is sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Environmentally Friendly Aquaculture
The Global Offshore Alliance details how offshore systems are exposed to deeper water and more powerful currents than coastal areas. Yet, this enables more efficient dilution of the waste produced from the farm. And, offshore waters enable a faster dispersion of fish waste into the marine food web.
Preventing Net Pen Failures
Unfortunately, when net pens move further offshore, the impact of wind, waves and currents become more pronounced, increasing the importance of structurally sound facilities.
But, through proper design, you can construct safe and environmentally sound facilities. For example, it’s essential to analyze wind, wave and current data and run simulations to mirror worst-case scenarios for the specific farm site. This analysis will dictate the type and size of chain, rope and anchors to use for the mooring grid. The same is true for cage construction.
Furthermore, building NS9415 certified facilities or those designed to meet that standard are an important step to preventing net pen failures. Building to this standard means that the cage can withstand a level above the critical breakage point or it won’t be certified.
In a study conducted by the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, facilities that meet these standards experienced a significant decline in salmon and rainbow trout escapes.
In fact, cage systems that meet the NS9415 standard are built to withstand the worst possible scenarios.
Plankton And Algae Protection
Fish health problems and mortalities due to plankton pest species exposure is an ongoing problem. However, aeration systems can control blooms at farm sites, preventing environmental issues.
For example, using an aeration system to create a bubble wall will help prevent plankton from entering the pens and impacting the fish.
Unquestionably, algae growth is a vicious cycle. Warmer temperatures prevent water from mixing, allowing algae to grow thicker and faster. Warmer water is easier for small organisms to move through and allows algae to float to the surface faster. Algal blooms absorb sunlight, making water even warmer and promoting more blooms.
But, using an aeration system to mix the water, is an effective deterrent to algae formation. Moving cooler water up from the depths in the hot summer months and mixing the water so that cooler temperatures are consistent throughout the pens will help mitigate the problem.
Poseidon Ocean Systems
Environmental impacts are both an ongoing challenge and important consideration in building and operating aquaculture facilities. It’s an issue that requires ongoing scrutiny and innovative new solutions.
Poseidon Ocean Systems’ commitment to research and development allows us to design and build aquaculture facilities that are safe and environmentally friendly. Contact us to learn more.