Eliminating or reducing the need for antibiotics or pesticides
Fish health is optimized by proper husbandry from the egg selection through to harvest. Salmon thrive in the controlled environment within the AgriMarine System™. The constant flow of new water at a comfortable temperature, with constant supplementation of oxygen combined with the lack of external stressors such as poor quality water and predators ensures that the rearing environment is excellent for our stocks. This in turn reduces or eliminates the need for antibiotic treatments.
Pesticides would typically be used to reduce the prevalence of sea lice populations in the captive salmon population. Some studies have shown that sea lice that affect salmon do not occur, or have very low populations in deep water. There is also evidence that moving oxygenated water repels sea lice. The AgriMarine System™ draws water from depth, thus avoiding the upper trophic regions in which sea lice thrive. The in-tank water is oxygenated and constantly refreshed.
Fish diets are formulated to provide the nutrition that fish need for growth. AgriMarine is committed to responsible production of healthy food. We currently source fish feed from food-fisheries by-product sources, and we are actively exploring new vegetable proteins such as concentrates from soy, canola, flax, and peas. Our close relationship with our feed suppliers enables us to ensure that the feed ingredients we use are of the highest quality.
Implementing waste removal processes
Current farming methods allow waste to collect at the bottom of the sea bed, fouling the ocean and attracting a series of flora and fauna that culminates in larger animals such as seals and sea lions being attracted to the sea farm tenure. The AgriMarine System™ removes fecal material and unconsumed feed through a waste separator, screening and filtration process. This waste may be used as fertilizer to grow other food crops and provide secondary economic benefits such as jobs and a tributary revenue stream.
Increasing fish feed efficiency
The AgriMarine System™ encourages increased metabolism and efficient use of nutrition provided by fish feed, through its optimization of the rearing environment. The constant gentle movement of water allows the fish to swim as they would in nature – this results in flesh quality similar to wild fish – and the fish feed is carried around the tank until eaten, simulating natural feeding patterns.
Lowering operating costs
The AgriMarine System™ has lower operating costs versus land-based tanks and comparable operating costs with current net cage practices.
This is due to a number of factors, among them:
- Feed use efficiency – no loss to drift, better control over feed consumption
- Optimum rearing environment, with supplemental oxygen - best temperature profiles, water velocity control, potential for day-length manipulation
- Barrier in place to lower the risks of escapes, toxic algae blooms or incursion of dead zones into the sea farm tenure
- Lower transportation costs due to proximity to market (and lower carbon footprint, an externality not currently in any farming company’s income statement!)
Maximizing fish health
Closed containment farms guarantee protection from dangerous ocean conditions such as algal blooms, jellyfish and from entanglement with predators such as marine mammals. The AgriMarine System™ is designed to draw water from depth and remain in constant circulation with real time monitoring of life-support systems. In essence, our system provides optimum rearing conditions year round, resulting in healthier fish with faster growth rates.
Preventing fish escapes
Fish escapes are problematic from both ecological and farm management perspectives. When fish, particularly non-indigenous species, escape they compete for food and potentially for spawning grounds with indigenous species. As well, due to habituation, farmed fish tend to stay close to the cages where they’re used to being fed and this in turn attracts predators which then leads to attacks on the remaining contained fish. From a farm management perspective, the loss of fish to the ocean environment has a direct impact on revenue. The AgriMarine System™ provides a barrier that can lower the risks of escapes and predator attacks, thus allowing the farmer to concentrate on rearing the fish.
Utilizing energy more efficiently
Land based closed containment systems require additional temperature control. The AgriMarine System™ exploits naturally occurring water temperature stratifications through a dual intake system, allowing the operator to manipulate and optimize in-tank water temperatures. In the summer, when surface temperatures can be high enough to kill off fish inventory, cooler water may be drawn from depth to mitigate the negative impacts. In the winter, when surface temperatures may create a layer of ice, warmer water may be drawn from the temperature inversion to allow ice free surface water and the continued feeding of fish year round. Land based systems require temperature controls to maintain the optimum temperature during the entire rearing period, and this creates a tremendous draw on power. Also, constant pumping of water through bio-filtration systems requires much more energy than the AgriMarine System™.