Big Fried Fish: Alberta’s Aquaculture Industry Is Making Progress

High-tech approach improves yield and inventory diversity

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There is an old joke about a good sales person selling sand in Sahara. Alberta’s developing tech aquaculture industry is competitive enough to sell tilapia to Vancouver customers and fresh shrimp to local restaurants.

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Aquaculture grows aquatic organisms such as fish and shellfish under controlled or semi-controlled conditions. High-tech control can increase not only the yield, but also the diversity of the species produced.

John Darksen, chair of the University of Lethbridge’s Aquaculture Center of Excellence, states that recirculating aquaculture, which relies on water reuse, is the most technologically advanced form of this type of agriculture. increase.

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“But if you’re raising a fish, the fish is taking it out, so you need to clean the water, remove the solids, and add oxygen again,” he says.

The center’s demonstration facility added aquaponics in 2003 and the system grows as much as 15 tonnes of tilapia each year, extracting nutrient-rich waste from water and fertilizing crops such as cucumbers.

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“Once the system is balanced, high-tech controls and sensors monitor water, oxygen and ammonia levels,” says Derksen. “It’s difficult to balance operations, but once you get there, it runs like an ecosystem.”

Fresh shrimp from Waterford Farm near Strathmore are also on the Alberta farming table. After a break due to a COVID-19 supply chain issue, the owner Keith Driver recently replenished the facility with PL (postnatal baby shrimp). His goal is to reduce the environmental footprint of shrimp harvested abroad and shipped to Alberta and to supply ethically grown fresh live shrimp to local restaurants and supermarkets.

“We have invested heavily in creating a high-tech water treatment system that keeps water at the right salt content, maintains water quality and provides a consistent environment for shrimp to live and grow.” He says. “IP is primarily included in the control software we develop. It recycles over 98% of the water we use. This system is used when shrimp eat, grow and harvest. It’s also designed to stay out of the way. “

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The facility is designed to expand with the addition of biosecure, temperature-controlled, stackable modules, each with a production capacity of £ 70,000. Of shrimp every year.

“We want to own and operate shrimp facilities in Canada and the United States for the markets we know and understand,” says the driver.

However, Waterford Farms has already been approached to license the technology to operating partners in the Middle East and North Africa.

“We can now use our smartphones to monitor and control shrimp facilities,” says the driver. “The more we can share monitoring between facilities, the more we can build a knowledge base and create technology-enabled replicable systems.”

The Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance states that the country’s aquaculture sector has already generated $ 5.2 billion in economic activity. With the development of Made-in-Alberta technology, these numbers will continue to grow.

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Big Fried Fish: Alberta’s Aquaculture Industry Is Making Progress

Source link Big Fried Fish: Alberta’s Aquaculture Industry Is Making Progress

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