Off-shore aquaculture operation. (Photo: Ctaqua)
Hydroacoustic techniques analysed to calculate aquaculture operation biomass
Monday, October 01, 2012, 03:00 (GMT + 9)
The Business Association of Marine Aquaculture Producers of Spain (Apromar), Aquaculture Technology Centre of Andalusia (Ctaqua) and the Research Institute for Integrated Coastal Zone Management (UPV) are working on a project to design technology for calculating the total biomass of fish in offshore installations.
Currently, there is no technology offering the precision necessary to estimate the fish biomass, which causes problems such as overfeeding or underfeeding of the specimens and economic loss to businesses.
To efficiently manage offshore farms, aquaculture companies "require accurate measurements of the number and size of the fish they contain. These measurements are essential to allow operators to properly manage the tasks of feeding, protection and harvesting, further ensuring minimal environmental impact," explains Ctaqua.
During the first stage of this initiative, the studies focused on the existing technology that best meet the project objectives.
After a period of analysis of the technique status, the team concluded that aquaculture can achieve significant progress by using hydroacoustic monitoring systems.
This technique aids in:
- The performance of sufficiently thorough measurements of the fish biomass;
- The wireless communication with other environmental control devices;
- The generation of early warnings in case of significant decrease of the biomass due to escape or disease;
- Settlement and easy recovery.
The US firm BioSonics Inc. was selected to collaborate actively in this project because of its experience in providing solutions for monitoring the biological and physical characteristics in the aquatic environment, and for being a pioneer in the application of hydroacoustic technology in this area.
This company will be responsible for performing a technical consultation for the installation of hydroacoustic equipment, data processing, and the report analysis and presentation.
According to Ctaqua, it is deemed feasible that the hydroacoustic technology becomes a standard management tool for the Mediterranean aquaculture industry.
This initiative has a EUR 214,000 budget. Of this total, EUR 175,000 will be provided as support for the 2011 Technological Development, Fisheries and Aquaculture from the Secretariat General of Fisheries of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Magrama) of the Government of Spain.
The rest of the funding will be provided by the entities developing the project.
By Analia Murias