Thursday, April 5, 2018

06/04/2018: Aquaculture with floating and submersible nets

by Gianluigi Negroni and Massimo Barzanti, Maccaferri, Italy

The caged aquaculture industry has grown rapidly in the last 20 years and is evolving in response to globalisation pressures and the growing demand for aquatic products.

Rapid population growth, increasing wealth and urbanisation in developing countries are leading to major changes in the supply and demand for animal protein - both land and fish. 

Image credit: Maccaferri
There was an orientation towards the integration of cage farms horizontally and vertically with hatcheries and feed mills, and towards the development and use of more modern cage systems. In particular, the need for suitable sites has allowed access and expansion of aquaculture cages in new areas not yet used, such as lakes, water retention reservoirs, rivers and brackish marine waters, coastal marine and offshore -shore.

We will consider the HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) cages that are currently very wide spreads. Although the origins of the use of cages for the containment and transport of fish for short periods were used almost two centuries ago in the Asian region, we can think of an earlier use in the indigenous practices of nomadic fishermen who live on boats on the Mekong Delta and Tonle Sap in Vietnam and Cambodia. The marine cage culture was pioneered in the 1970s, with the great development of salmonid breeding in Northern Europe and particularly in Norway.

The farming systems where cages are used are very diversified, like the number of species bred. Rearing operations in traditional cages (typical of most Southeast Asian countries) consist of small cages and are in contrast to modern production operations of industrial cages for salmon and trout on a large scale in Northern Europe and the Americas (more than 50 metres diameter and 20 meters deep). The type and uses of different cages adapt to the environment and the economic objectives of the various environmental areas must adapt to the cages and related mooring equipment.

The rapid growth and success of the salmonids farming industry is due to a combination of interrelated factors, including the development and use of easily replicable and cost-effective technology (including the production of the hatchery), access to large areas of suitable water, a good selection of species and market acceptability, possibility of large corporate investments and good national regulation of the aquaculture sector in cages. It is important to understand the challenges for cage culture development and in particular the need to minimise the rapidly growing potential environmental and the sector ecosystem impacts.

Read the full article, HERE.

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