Use of modern technology in onshore salmon farming
Land-based Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) is an advanced, environmentally benign technology used to grow safe and healthy seafood in large tanks. Utilizing RAS to grow Atlantic salmon on land has notable advantages over marine aquaculture operations. Unlike offshore farms, RAS provides Aquabanq with near-total control over growing conditions and inputs. This technology allows us to optimize growth, prevent fish diseases, and ensure quality, in order to supply seafood according to a predictable year-round production plan.
Eliminating entry points for pathogens or parasites and providing overall good health conditions for our fish in a tightly controlled RAS environment ensures that no antibiotics are used, can be discharged with effluent, or enter the food chain through the consumption of our product.
The water in our RAS is reused and continuously treated to remove feed residues and waste produced by the fishes’ digestion and respiration systems. The system decreases dissolved carbon dioxide and nitrogen gas to levels closer to atmospheric saturation, and increases dissolved oxygen concentrations above atmospheric saturation levels. Additional treatment units disinfect and oxidize organic wastes and nitrite in order to supplement the effectiveness of other water treatment units.
When a land-based RAS discharges water back into the environment, it does so under the strict conditions of the National Clean Water Act NPDES* permits issued by the State Department of Environmental Protection. Virtually all NPDES permits for land-based fish culture facilities in Maine require them to discharge water that is often cleaner than the water they take in from the environment.
Our sustainably operated RAS plant will create virtually no impact on the wider ecosystem from effluents, escaped fish, or other traditionally undesirable inputs of fish farming.
* The NPDES permit program addresses water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants to waters of the United States.
Each of our RAS grow-out units is designed to produce 2.7 million pounds of harvest-sized fish every year.
The system was designed for low maintenance, energy, and feed efficient operation. Our energy consumption per pound of fish produced is significantly lower than the industry average. We also deploy the most efficient oxygen dissolving process equipment operating at only 0.3 bar—10 times less than industry standard—to create a stress-free, healthy environment for the fish in our tanks, and improved feed conversion ratios.
For RAS fish tanks, it is hard to find a more cost-effective and long-lasting solution than glass-fused-to-steel technology. Our glass-lined tanks can be extended, and even re-sited thanks to their long term asset value. Rapid and cost-effective site installation reduces project timescale, costs, and requirement for on-site equipment. This technology provides for exceptional corrosion control, abrasion resistance, and long service life with no cracking, chipping, or leaking.
All safety and mission-critical RAS components are supplied in multiple units to ensure life support for our fish in case of a mechanical equipment breakdown or power supply interruption. The oxygen production system is backed up by on-site large capacity liquid oxygen tanks, and emergency power generators will start automatically after detecting an interruption in service.
All data such as fish feed consumption, photoperiod (light), water temperature, pH values, and water oxygen saturation, among other parameters, are monitored and processed in real-time by the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System (SCADA). This centralized system assists operators with monitoring the aquatic environment and critical RAS equipment. Computer-controlled pneumatic feeders are used to transport the feed inside the facilities. These also ensure the distribution of the correct amount of feed to the individual fish cohorts at the right time. Precision feeding is essential for any profitable fish farm.
To build our aquatic farms in Maine, Aquabanq has joined forces with a dedicated group of companies from the U.S. and Canada that have specialized in RAS design and integration of world-class OEM water treatment and farming equipment for the past 40 years.
Moving salmon aquaculture inland to land-based Recirculating Aquaculture Systems is one of the best ways to reduce or eliminate environmental impacts from farming fish. This is Aquabanq’s response to the pollution of the oceans and waterways by traditional offshore salmon farms, and the deteriorating safety and reliability of ocean-raised fish as a food source.
Sustainable land-based aquaculture brings cascading benefits to any area where it is being employed to grow fish. Fish farms like ours create jobs at multiple levels of the workforce. They promote growth in feed production, processing, packaging, transportation, supplies, machinery, waste management, financial services, advertising, and numerous other industries.
Demand for seafood in the United States, which is already at high levels, is expected to double by 2050. And we at Aquabanq believe that our fish need not travel thousands of miles by airfreight before reaching consumers’ tables.
As expansion in offshore aquaculture is slowed by caps on licenses, ocean pollution, and the challenges of disease outbreaks, RAS technology is set to deliver the next wave of positive, sustainable growth.