Skip to comments.Drifting Fish Farm Yields First Harvest in US Waters [environmentally sustainable fish farming]
Posted on 11/11/2012 1:58:15 PM PST by grundle
A Hawaii-based company harvested fish for the first time from an unanchored drifter pen, that has been riding eddies in the open ocean 3 to 75 miles offshore of the Big Island of Hawaii.
The harvest from the Velella Research Project completes the grow-out cycle of sashimi-grade fish in a method that Kampachi Farms says is more sustainable than fixed-location farms close to shore.
"This final harvest far surpassed our expectations," said Neil Anthony Sims, Co-CEO of Kampachi Farms. "The fish thrived in the research net pen far from shore, with phenomenal growth rates and superb fish health... and without any negative impact on water quality, the ocean floor, wild fish or marine mammals."
The research project raised kampachi (a tropical yellowtail) in a single unanchored, submersible net pen tethered to a manned sailing vessel, in water up to 12,000 feet deep. A video of the project is available here.
"This array proved to be very robust," said Steve Page, President of Ocean Farm Technologies, makers of the Aquapod pen. "It withstood even extreme conditions 75 miles offshore, with winds gusting over 40 knots and swells over 20 feet."
The kampachi were fed a commercial diet that replaced a significant amount of fishmeal and fish oil with soy and other alternative agricultural proteins. No antibiotics, hormones or pesticides were used throughout the seven-month trial, the company said.
The company reported that the kampachi reached an average of 5.6 lbs in six months, resulting in a first harvest a full three months ahead of schedule. The final food conversion ratio (FCR) was 1.6:1 (1.6 pounds of feed to produce 1 pound of fish). In comparison, average FCR for chicken is 1.9:1, and beef is up to 6.5:1.
Sims said that fish health was superb throughout the trial, with an overall mortality rate of less than 2%, compared with a standard aquaculture mortality rate of 15%. Sample testing showed that the kampachi had a fat content of 33%, making this an extraordinarily healthful fish for human consumption, high in heart-healthy Omega-3s with no discernible mercury or other contaminants.
"It makes perfect sense to raise fish in the ocean, where they belong," said Sims. "This was a healthy, low-stress environment for the fish, and we think that this allowed them to channel their energy into growing faster."
These were the first farmed fish raised in U.S. federal waters and required a special research permit from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
"The success of the Velella research demonstrates that we can grow fish in the open ocean with no negative impact on pristine ocean ecosystems," said Sims. "We must now apply ourselves to responsibly scale up this industry, to meet the growing global demand for high-quality seafood."
The next phase of this research will test a single-point mooring 6 miles offshore in water 6,000 feet deep, where the pen can move freely in currents and still be within easy range of shore for supply delivery and crew rotation.
Sure it is. Even this is artificial. How can the eco-nuts allow this??
Wow. Cool! Thanks for posting this. :)
Wait until a sub clips one and bruises the wittle fishies!
Thanks for the post!
And the price per pound of fish is projected to be?
Interesting concept.... I’m surprised it has not been tried before....
Sort of like open range chicken farming...
Before or after the politicians take their cut?
It’s great news but I suspect they will eventually have to hire guards to keep PRETA and ELF and others from cutting the pens open to free the fishies.
It’s great news but I suspect they will eventually have to hire guards to keep PETA and ELF and others from cutting the pens open to free the fishies.
The ELF marines!
They can have the tail and scales plus innards. Afterall fair is fair.
Cool. I want to see a sports fishing model. ;>)
how are they high in omega 3s when they aren’t eating krill?
Neat idea - I hope they’re wildly successful (but wait until PETA finds out).
Ok that 6.5 to 1 ratio on cattle is way misleading, their talking feedlot cattle and not open range. We raise on average 1200 cattle on 38 sections, all open range. This year we didn’t have to supply any additional feed other than the range cubes we use to gather them up for counting and inspection and thats less than 500 lbs a week. If they’d just come to the truck and stand in line we wouldn’t need that. When we sell some go to other ranches but most go directly to butcher. We are in West TX.
For city folk that don’t know, a section is 640 acres = 1 square mile.
You could start your own country.
They're in the open ocean (in the cage, of course)...OF COURSE they're eating krill (in addition to their regular "fish chow").
Open ocean is barren like a desert. There is a reason that fish avoid those areas, there is a lack of food. That is why I question the fish’s level of Omega 3 fatty acids.
I can guarantee you that there is plankton/krill throughout the entire surface layer of the ocean. More (sometimes a lot more) in some places than others, depending on local nutrient availability, of course, but nowhere "barren". Nor is any land desert ever "barren". There is always life somewhere around.....it is ubiquitous.
And if I were a smart fish-farmer, I would choose sites where the concentration is higher (assuming availability). No farmer in his right mind is going to turn down "free feed" for his critters, even if they are fish.
And I'm also sure that some fish biologist will run a comparative test on those (Omega-3) and other aspects of the "farmed fish" (and such tests may well be part of the research on THIS project).
I expect that they will be tested, one of the problems of farm raised fish is low omega 3 levels, if they have that licked, they have a major marketing advantage over more conventional farm raised fish.