Cage raft belonging to the oceanic aquaculture project in the Traiguén II farming center, in Chiloé. Photo: EcoSea Farming.
Chile: Ecosea Farming’s submersible megacage will have its first salmon harvests next October, completing its prototyping at the Traiguén II center with no leaks and very little fouling.
By Jonathan Garces
Corfo Los Lagos, together with the Sustainable Salmon Mesoregional Strategic Program, yesterday carried out the “Aquaculture Summit 2020: Opportunities for Regional Productive Development”, where the two offshore fish farming projects were highlighted, which show good results.
One of the speakers at the event was Álex Brown, manager of Ecosea Farming’s Oceanic Aquaculture Program, who told Salmonexpert that “we are in the prototyping stage, in which we are improving the technology related to submersible cage rafts, already validated and proven, especially in its support systems and sensors. For 12 months we have had about 45,000 fattening fish in a submersible raft suitable for exposed conditions, which is state-of-the-art, which has behaved according to previous modeling, very safe and stable”.
According to Brown, the first harvest of 180 tons will take place in October of this year, at the Traiguén II cultivation center, located in Chiloé. “We have had no escapes, no wolf attacks and very little fouling, since the confinement net is made of a special copper alloy for fish farming. Throughout this period we have only carried out simple maintenance on the fish tank, since fouling is minimal. Also, no wolf net is required. Therefore, we have significantly reduced all operations and associated risks, including net changes, washings, diving hours, losses, among other aspects.”
The prototyping will culminate, according to the program, in the fall of 2021, “later we will develop the piloting stage, in which we will test the pre-commercial developments. The scale of production will be larger, as will the integration of components, for example, a feeding pontoon, a mortality and sludge extraction system, eventually a feeding system and key logistical aspects to be able to make both investment and operation viable from the point of view of economic. We estimate that in the pilot we will have close to 200,000 fish in a highly exposed sector,” said the manager of Ecosea Farming’s Oceanic Aquaculture program.
Another of the speakers at the event was Claudio Pavez, manager of the Consorcio SpA Oceanic Aquaculture Program, who told Salmonexpert that “the project is in its first year of execution, which includes prototyping activities for the cage raft infrastructure, fish confinement network, mooring and anchoring components and prototyping of service technologies to support productive activity. Currently, there are two cage raft prototypes installed in a high-energy concession -linked to Marine Farm- that has current records above 3.5 knots and wave heights in the range of 3 to 4 meters”.
The testing process of these prototypes, Pavez pointed out, “has promoted different developments in the field of constructive engineering of different components of the cage rafts and in particular of the head components and union, articulation, sacrifice and damping elements, all developed specifically to mitigate the effects generated by the force vectors on the infrastructure as a result of the action of ocean energy. These are developments led by Walbusch, which as a whole have meant intellectual property registration processes that we hope to announce soon in the national salmon industry.”
In other areas of development, the manager of the Consorcio SpA Oceanic Aquaculture Program explained that “Aquarov projects are in the TR7 stage, and correspond to ROV technologies designed to carry out network cleaning activities and support the production process, which as an element As a novelty, its design and control components have been developed with local electronic and computer engineering and in close relationship with the engineering faculty of the University of Concepción. Scale AQ, whose technology development is at the TRL3 stage, has been working on a feed supply system. In this area, in addition, the company AST Networks is in the development stage TRL4 of a digital platform that allows telemetry of different variables of environmental, oceanographic monitoring and remote control of the operation of the developed infrastructure”.
On the day, meanwhile, Daniel Benetti, an expert who was emphatic in emphasizing that the only alternative to satisfy the growing demand for products from the sea, presented offshore aquaculture, which has favorable oceanographic conditions for its development as a greater exchange of water. , stable temperature, high level of dissolved oxygen, but also logistical challenges to be solved.
For her part, Susana Giglio, representative of Subpesca, argued in her presentation that ocean aquaculture will help decompress the use of the coastline, minimizing conflicts between actors, while offshore areas have intense currents that will reduce diseases and the use of drugs. , although a technology for proper waste management must be developed.
One of the pending issues in ocean aquaculture is to materialize a pertinent regulation for the activity”.Rodrigo Carrasco, director of Corfo Los Lagos.