Recirculating aquaculture system, latest trends in aquaculture

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“With this technology, it is possible to produce and grow shrimp in any part of the world and in any season of the year,” is a quote from Robbins Mackintosh, Managing Director of CP in Thailand. He is talking about the use of a recirculating aquaculture system in shrimp farming. The extraordinary and unique benefits of this method are confirmed by this sentence alone. If, after reading this paragraph, you are interested and curious to know more about this system and how it works, join us in this article.

What is a Recirculating Aquaculture System and how was it developed?

Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) is a technology that recycles and reuses water after mechanical and biological filtration and removal of suspended solids and metabolites. This method is used for high-density culture of various aquatic species using minimal land area and water.

Contrary to what most people think, recirculating aquaculture is not an emerging system. The Japanese invented the aquaponic system 65 years ago to achieve more benefits. Aquaponics is considered a recirculating aquaculture system, which means the simultaneous cultivation of aquatic animals and plants. Later, other countries, including Germany, adopted the recirculating aquaculture system. In the 1970s and 1980s, Germany and Denmark achieved significant development in the technology of recirculating aquaculture systems and used this system to breed species such as carp, eel, and salmon. At present, Danish companies have a lot to say about the use of recirculating aquaculture systems in aquaculture and are sharing their experience with other countries. Spain is also one of the pioneers of this technology and has made good progress in this area.

How does the recirculating aquaculture system work?

The recirculated aquaculture system is based on the recycling of useless water. In this system, the poor quality and used water from the pond is transferred to the purification department and purified both biologically and mechanically using advanced filtration equipment. The water is then disinfected, oxygenated, and regenerated before being returned to the ponds.

What are the benefits of using a recirculating aquaculture system?

Unlike traditional farming methods, where shrimp are grown outdoors and mainly in earthen ponds, recirculating aquaculture systems produce shrimp in an enclosed space in special tanks and a controlled environment. RAS has many and varied advantages over previous farming systems.

The use of recirculating aquaculture systems in shrimp farming improves feed consumption and reduces the food conversion ratio to a reasonable level. In these systems, the environment is strictly controlled and monitored; therefore, accurate and timely solutions are applied in case of weather changes such as sudden warming or cooling of the air. In addition, growing shrimp in a controlled environment greatly reduces their exposure to pathogens, thereby improving the biological safety of the shrimp.

Another advantage of this system is that it requires minimal space to grow shrimp. This increases productivity by increasing production per unit area, resulting in more profit.

In recirculating aquaculture shrimp farming, waste from production can be collected and used as fertilizer. In addition, the residues can be used to breed aquatic animals together with shrimp.

The recirculating aquaculture system significantly reduces water consumption in shrimp farming because it is based on the recirculation and reuse of water in the ponds.

Other advantages of using a recirculating aquaculture system are:

-Less pollution by reducing the discharge of organic materials into the environment

-Reduced production costs such as labor

– Ability to grow shrimp all year round

– Ability to grow shrimp in places far from the coast

– Ability to grow and produce organic shrimp

-Achieving sustainable shrimp farming

In the studies conducted in different regions of the world to compare shrimp farming in earthen ponds and recirculating aquaculture conditions, it was found that the total cost of production and its range of variability are reduced to a favorable extent in the recirculating aquaculture system. In addition, the possibility of capital risk is less in this system.

Despite its many benefits, why has RAS not been widely adopted by shrimp farmers worldwide?

The high initial capital requirement is one of the main barriers to the use of recirculating aquaculture. It takes a lot of capital to set up and purchase the equipment associated with this system. This factor has made farmers reluctant to use it.

Other barriers include access to the necessary knowledge and technology, and a lack of experts in the field.

Considering the benefits of shrimp culture in recirculating aquaculture systems that have been demonstrated in the studies, additional efforts need to be made for the widespread use of this system and its improvement in productivity. Any effort in this area will ultimately lead to better performance and sustainability of the shrimp farming industry.

References:

https://scj.areeo.ac.ir/article_116865.html
https://nfdb.gov.in/PDF/06_Ras%20Booklet%20Eng.pdf

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