In February, a two-year international aquaculture project was launched that focuses on better water quality, healthier fish and more efficient production in recirculating aquaculture for Salmon smolt.
The participants are research institutes and companies from Norway, Denmark, Scotland, France and The Netherlands. IMARES Wageningen UR, is coordinating the project.
To reduce environmental load, during the next few years most of the land based salmon smolt farms that are currently operating should consider to switch from continuous flow-through or partially recirculating systems to closed systems (Recirculating Aquaculture Systems, RAS). Such systems use much less water and energy, allow water quality to be controlled, are biologically safer and ultimately yield a healthier and less expensive product.
The new project is focusing both on water quality and on improving the effectiveness of the purification process in such recirculating aquaculture systems. This is done by developing feed that is better adapted to the special conditions in RAS, applying to both the fish and the water purification technologies. The project, which has the compact title Feed and Treat, is made possible by an EU-funded research programme for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).
One of the aims of the project is to ensure optimal treatability of the fish excreta by giving the fish special feed designed for the conditions specific to RAS. In addition, the existing mechanical and biological methods for treating the water will be adapted to the modified fish excreta from the new feed. Finally, the project should lead to an approach to reduce water and energy consumption. The aquaculture unit of IMARES is developing an experimental system in Yerseke. The first salmon eggs have already hatched.
The project is budgeted at approximately EUR 1.5 million. Beside the three SME’s Danish system builder Inter Aqua Advance, the French ACUI-T and the Norwegian aquaculture company Sømna Settefisk, the other participants are IMARES and Wageningen University, collaborating as Wageningen Aquaculture, the Norwegian research institute Nofima, the Scottish salmon producer Lakeland Group and the Danish feed producer Biomar.
Contact: Dr. Arjan Palstra
Photo: The first salmon eggs have already hatched at IMARES in Yerseke, The Netherlands. (Photo by Yoeri van Es)