The net-pen operation of fish farming that once looked so good has raised some questions about the harm that it does to wild fish because of health issues spreading from the farm to open habitat. It has been proven that these health issues are valid and nobody wants to harm the indigenous species.
We know that net-pen aquaculture threatens wild salmon, and we also know that the industry is a profitable one that contributes significantly to local, provincial and national economic accounts. The good news is that an increasing body of evidence shows that land-based, closed-containment aquaculture is an environmentally, technically and economically viable option to net-pen aquaculture.
It’s generally accepted that closed containment aquaculture has the ability to drastically reduce environmental impacts on the marine environment, but there is still debate whether the technology is adequate for commercial-scale production and if it economically feasible? At a Speaking for the Salmon workshop on land-based closed-containment aquaculture, Dr. Andrew Wright presented his study “Technologies for Viable Salmon Aquaculture: An Examination of Land-Based Closed Containment Aquaculture”.
Dr. Wright, an engineer by training who holds a handful of patents, demonstrated that land-based closed containment is technically viable on a commercial scale by designing a system using widely available, off-the-shelf components. He further demonstrated that his system is economically viable, with a capital investment that is reasonable and in-line with new technology, and low operating expenses, resulting in a healthy cash flow that materializes in the early years of the operation. The study even finds that profits can be significantly increased when waste is used as a feedstock for a secondary product, such as lettuce.
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The concerns of the past about closed containment aquaculture farms appear to have been addressed and improved technology now makes it possible to have farm raised fish that is grown economically. Aquaculture is the answer to the increased demand of a hungry-health conscious world who desire the improved health benefits of seafood over other forms of protein.