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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Improving the Sustainability of Land-Based Closed-Containment Systems for Salmonid Food Fish Production

Location: Cool and Cold Water Aquaculture Research

Project Number: 8082-31320-001-00
Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: Dec 02, 2009
End Date: Dec 01, 2014

Objective:
1: Identify criteria to optimize the performance, health, welfare and consumer value of Atlantic salmon and other salmonids grown to food-size in intensive, land-based, closed-containment systems. • 1.1 Determine effects of high (20 mg/L) and low (10 mg/L) dissolved carbon dioxide concentrations on Atlantic salmon performance, health, and welfare during growout in freshwater RAS. • 1.2 Determine effects of strain and photoperiod manipulation (to produce smoltification) in a 2 x 2 factorial study on Atlantic salmon growth, processing attributes, and sexual maturity to 24 months post-hatch in freshwater RAS • 1.3 A comparison of rainbow trout performance and welfare in semi-closed (i.e., makeup freshwater supplied only to replace backwash flows) versus closed (i.e., freshwater backwash collected and reclaimed using MBR treatment) RAS operated with ozonation. • 1.4 Determine effects of swimming speed (2 body length/sec versus < 0.5 BL/sec) and dissolved oxygen concentration (70% versus 100% saturation) on rainbow trout performance and welfare. 2: Improve the effectiveness, energy efficiency, and economics of water reuse and waste treatment technologies and practices. This will include developing technologies to minimize waste and reclaim water, protein, and/or energy to improve the economic and environmental sustainability of closed-containment systems. • 2.1 Economic evaluation and life cycle assessment of land-based closed-containment systems for production of food-size Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout. • 2.2 Development of low-head and high-volume gas transfer processes to improve the energy efficiency of RAS. • 2.3 Improve technologies and practices that counter the effects of fish pathogens, and reduce the need for chemotherapeutic and antibiotic use within closed-containment production systems. • 2.4 Optimize cell age within MBR systems to maximize metals removal and protein content of waste mixed liquor suspended solids. 3: Conduct production trials of fish and feeds developed through ARS collaborations. • 3.1 Compare the effects of grain versus fishmeal-based diets on rainbow trout performance and welfare, as well as water quality, water treatment process performance, and waste production rates in RAS operated at low flushing rates. • 3.2 Field test selected rainbow trout (NCCCWA, Leetown, WV) or Atlantic salmon (NCWMAC, Franklin, ME) germplasm resources for performance in intensive recirculating aquaculture systems.

Approach:
Research at The Conservation Fund’s Freshwater Institute focuses on developing and improving technologies to enhance the sustainability and reduce the environmental impact of the modern fish farming industry. To this end, the proposed projects listed in this plan will continue our work in pioneering land-based, closed containment water recirculation systems that are biosecure, have an easily controlled rearing environment, produce healthy and optimally performing fish, and produce manageable effluent for significant reduction in waste discharge. Specifically, our proposed research will investigate, among other things, the biological and economic feasibility of raising Atlantic salmon to market size in freshwater recirculation systems (as opposed to coastal net-pens); the potential for raising rainbow trout in semi-closed or closed water recirculation systems to further reduce the amount of influent water and point source discharge required for these systems; the health and welfare of salmon and trout in relation to dissolved oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, swimming speed in circular tanks, soy-based feeds, and water ozonation in low-exchange systems; and the potential for greater energy efficiency in water recirculation systems through improved low-lift pumping and gas transfer processes. In addition, our experimental systems will continue to serve as field testing sites for alternative-protein feeds and for salmon and trout strains selected through genetic improvement programs at other USDA facilities. The investigations proposed in this plan will build on the findings of previous years of USDA-funded research to develop a sustainable, environmentally responsible, and economically viable aquaculture industry in the United States. 1. Identify criteria to optimize the performance, health, welfare and consumer value of Atlantic salmon and other salmonids grown to food-size in intensive, land-based, closed-containment systems. 2. Improve the effectiveness, energy efficiency, and economics of water reuse and waste treatment technologies and practices. This will include developing technologies to minimize waste and reclaim water, protein, and/or energy to improve the economic and environmental sustainability of closed-containment systems. 3. Conduct production trials of fish and feeds developed through ARS collaborations.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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