Equipment that you need to be successful aquaculture business

Aquaculture, or fish farming as it’s more commonly known, is the marine equivalent of agriculture. As human populations continue to expand, fishing stocks are facing a corresponding decline – in some instances to a dangerous degree. Not only does this put a strain on natural fish populations, but it risks affecting the human population’s access to food in some parts of the world. An increasingly important industry, aquaculture now accounts for over half of the world’s fish produce.

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And business is booming. The turnover from the salmon aquaculture business in Scotland will reach £1 billion by 2020, contributing 8,000 jobs to remote coastal regions. Species farmed in the UK include sea and rainbow trout, Atlantic salmon, halibut, oysters and scallops. So the only question is: what kind of equipment do you need to set up and run a successful aquaculture business?

Pumping Equipment

In conventional aquaculture farms, the fish are inside nets in tanks placed inside a purpose-built pond. Evaporation and splash-out leads to the water level decreasing over time. Pumps are used to deliver fresh water from a nearby reservoir, stream or river to the farming pond to ensure that fish have adequate amounts of fresh water.

Pumps are also used at the end of the growing season or cycle to drain the pond entirely. In locations where the water will not freeze during the winter months, pumps instead send used water to a recycling and cleaning system, which removes dirt and impurities before returning it to the pond via the pump for the next hatch of fish.

There are two main types of pump used in aquaculture equipment: turbine and centrifugal. Turbine pumps are set vertically along the outermost perimeter of the farming pond, whereas centrifugal pumps are set horizontally, but both types are efficient at keeping the water flowing.

Aeration Systems

For larger populations of fish, the use of a pump to cycle water might not be enough. Aeration devices are used to supply fish with plenty of oxygen. These systems also simplify the task of recycling and cleaning the water after each grow cycle. Using these systems also allows the farmer to farm more fish in smaller volumes of water. Some farmers have even managed to use aeration and recirculation systems to farm fish in tanks located inside buildings.

Seine Net Reels

Growing the fish is all very well, but how does a farmer harvest their crop? Seine nets are used to reel in the fish from the tank. The seine is placed in the pond and sinks to the bottom. This net is then reeled in slowly using powered machinery, gathering the fish inside and hoisting them ashore for sorting and grading. During this process, farmers must ensure that aerators provide enough oxygen for a large quantity of fish in such close quarters.

Sorting, Grading and Handling Equipment

In the final stage in the aquaculture journey, your fish must be sorted by size after having been harvested. Mechanical belts are used to move the fish from the seine net to a holding tank. During this transfer, special grading equipment can be used to sort the fish into up to three different grades based on size and weight.

As fish crops are grown on a monocultural basis, no variety or species sorting is required. Counting equipment can also be employed to assess the size of your crop, which is vital for many businesses. After the grading and sorting process is complete, the fish are moved to transfer tank trucks which contain special aeration systems. These trucks take them to market, and the farmer prepares for the next grow cycle.