Hard-earned lessons from ocean farming trial
Fish farmers are learning vauable lessons as they get their feet wet in ocean farming.
Proponents behind a yellowtail kingfish experimental ocean farm in New South Wales, Australia found out the hard way the destruction biofouling could inflict on ocean pen structures.
Huon Aquaculture of Tasmania and the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, who are behind the ocean farm, acknowledged that barnacles and mussels believed to have been introduced from a nearby port damaged one of the sea pens and caused 20,000 fish to escape early this year.
“This was an unexpected problem and to develop the equipment needed to address this problem will take time,” Pender Bender, CEO of Huon Aquaculture, told ABC News.
Huon is working with an American manufacturer to design new net cleaning equipment and said it will not install additional pens in the meantime.
Initial results of the five-year kingfish research project have otherwise exceeded expectations. The kingfish (Seriola lalandi) grew to market size faster than expected and there were no issues with feeding or pathogens.
The 62-hectare research site is situated six-km from land. It is subject to some of the roughest sea conditions in the world, but while it has so far withstood swells up to six meters and some waves up to 11-meters high, the proponents are not taking any chances so they’ve bolstered the structures further, the report said.