Virus Outbreak in Chilean Salmon Farm Illustrates Vulnerability of Open Systems

May 24, 2008

Chile salmon farm

A virus known as infectious salmon anemia (ISA) has killed millions of farmed salmon in Chile causing widespread impacts through Chile’s third largest export industry. Chile exports its salmon to the U.S., Europe and Japan. The virus has resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs and serious economic impacts to local communities.

The incident has drawn renewed criticism of the practice of breeding salmon in crowded nearshore net pens, a practice that causes pollution impacts to coastal waters while leaving fish vulnerable to disease outbreak.

To combat disease outbreaks, Chilean fish farmers use a range of antibiotics, some of which are prohibited for animal use in the U.S.

The incident has caused Chile to consider a move to land-based closed-containment systems which do not require the use of chemical or antibiotics and, as quarantined systems, do not leave their fish stocks vulnerable to disease or other contamination.

More on the Chilean salmon disease outbreak is available from the New York Times.

What is Next-Generation Aquaculture?

May 22, 2008

Closed-containment, land-based recirculating systems for aquaculture are not new. However, the latest generation of this technology, highly integrated systems built from the ground up specifically for aquaculture purposes are distinct from land-based fish farms that employ tanks and pumps but have been assembled in an ad hoc fashion and fail to reach the efficiency, scalability and profitability of next-generation systems.

Next-generation aquacultureThe latest next-generation closed-containment aquaculture systems represent a quantum leap forward, both as a lucrative and low-risk business venture as well as the most sustainable and efficient form of aquaculture today, with efficiencies more than 10 times conventional fish farms. Next-generation systems recirculate up to 99 percent of their effluent, have no discharge, use no chemicals or antibiotics, and can be sited close to market, resulting in a fresher product and dramatically lower transportation costs (food miles).
Next-generation aquaculture systems are defined by the following attributes:

  • Fully-Integrated: System specifically designed and built for growth of particular species (versus one-of-a-kind “systems” assembled in an ad hoc fashion)
  • Management System: Includes a Comprehensive Management System with precise instructions and protocols (including a “User’s Manual”); Turnkey
  • Total Production Control: Quarantined systems offer exceptionally high level of control of inputs and growing conditions.
  • Reproducible Results: Next-generation systems are highly predictable, replicable and scalable.
  • Ultra-High Efficiency: Next-generation systems exhibit growth rates and efficiencies an order of magnitude greater than flow-through or open systems.
  • Competitive & Cost-Effective: Next-generation systems have a proven track record of successful economic performance, based on superior quality, consistency of quality and supply, and through economies of scale to defray capital costs.
  • Low-Risk & Insurable: Because of the high level of control of virtually all variables, risk is minimized. Next-generation systems are insurable (including livestock)
  • Sustainable Practices: Next-generation aquaculture systems dramatically minimize adverse environmental impacts associated with aquaculture. As closed, recirculating systems, there is no Aquaculture recirculation system schematiceffluent or any contact with wild populations. Facilities are land-based and can be sited close to market, with no impacts on coastal habitats and dramatically lower “food miles” required for transportation. Ultra-high efficiency means that these systems use a fraction of the feed of open systems. Finally, next-generation systems use no chemicals or antibiotics.

All of the systems offered by Aquaculture Developments are next-generation aquaculture systems.