In Chile: The World’s Largest Submersible Cage is Being Built

Construction of the EcoSea Farming Spa submersible raft for prototyping at Invermar’s Traiguén 2 center. Photo: EcoSea Farming Spa.

Chile: The EcoSea Farming Spa consortium will begin the prototype stage at Invermar’s Traiguén 2 farming center, located in Achao, to develop ocean aquaculture in the country.

By Jonathan Garces

Yesterday, two technological consortiums presented the advances of their oceanic aquaculture projects, within the framework of the III Aquaculture Summit organized by Corfo, whose investments reach $22 billion for a six-year execution, initially experimental.

One of these consortiums is EcoSea Farming Spa, in a project that began in June 2018, within the Technological Development Program for Oceanic Aquaculture. According to what was stated at the Corfo conference by its R&D manager, who is also Project Leader of Fraunhofer Chile Research, Álex Brown, they are currently developing their first stage of execution.

In this first stage, they are building the first submersible cage raft for their prototyping unit, which is located in the town of Achao, in Invermar’s Traiguén 2 farming center, whose site is “medium energy”. “It will be ready in 20 more days and will be the largest in the world, with an extension of 40×12 meters and a capacity of 18,400 m3, for 50,000 smolt and 312 tons,” the executive explained.

Álex Brown, R&D manager at EcoSea Farming Spa. Photo: Jonathan Garcés, Salmonexpert.

Then, from 2022, the piloting process will begin, expanding the submersible cage raft to an area of ​​70×15 meters and with a capacity of 74,000 m3, for 279,000 smolt and about 1,300 tons, in an exposed area, of “high energy”, where Subpesca defines, “for which a suitable area (AAA) is not needed, if it is so decided,” said Brown.

This project, managed by EcoSea Farming Spa, is working with Sitecna for pontoons, with Aex Group for mooring technologies, Innovex for remote control and Novatech for mortality management.

Likewise, the Catholic University of Valparaíso supports the initiative in relation to human capital, and Fraunhofer Research Chile in seeking the best regulatory and environmental conditions. Subpesca and Sernapesca are also part of the project.

Benefits and challenges

Meanwhile, the R&D manager of Ecosea Farming Spa exhibited the benefits of ocean aquaculture. “It is a competitive solution for the creation of new cultivation areas in the country, it is possible to develop the activity far from vulnerable or disputed areas, reducing social pressures, the site is also not affected by the swing of the tides and less use is presumed. of therapeutic products and greater capacity to disperse residues”.

While among the challenges of oceanic aquaculture in Chile, “the few competitive offshore projects stand out, together with the fact that there are no oceanic pontoons and the low existence of funding for these initiatives. In terms of regulation, the State requires environmental information, which requires Oceanic AAAs, and the activity must be allowed up to nautical mile 200,” said Brown.

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