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Saltwater Aquaculture in Northern California

by | Nov 4, 2022 | Trending

Aquaculture is the breeding, raising, harvesting, and farming of fresh and saltwater plants and animals. Seafood produced from aquaculture has been around for hundreds of years, and in 2018, it exceeded the production of wild-caught fisheries globally. Aquaculture is mainly known for breeding and producing seafood for human consumption. However, it is also used for other purposes, such as producing organisms for stock restoration and improvement, research, ornamental fish for aquariums, and products like shells and pearls.

According to recent news, a Norwegian company plans to construct a huge fish farm in northern California that would be the largest of its kind on the West Coast. The saltwater aquaculture in northern California, located near the city of Eureka, could end up producing 27,500 tons of fish annually. The 30-acre planned farm was proposed in February 2019 and will produce fish entirely indoors and on land.

The Norwegian company, Nordic Aquafarms, has proposed its second such fish farm in the United States in less than two years. The company is currently in progress with another larger indoor farm in Belfast, Maine. It has emerged as a leader among large-scale indoor and inland fish farms. The industry aims to confront the several environmental ills of outdoor aquaculture by developing sustainable closed-loop systems that will increase profits.

Conventional fish farms or aquaculture systems like marine net pens pose several ecological issues. Water from these farms flows directly into the environment, carrying toxic parasites, substances, and pathogens that could threaten wild fish populations and their habitats. For example, salmon farmed in net pens along the coast of British Columbia have infected wild salmon populations with parasitic sea lice.

Nordic Aquafarms and other companies have welcomed a technology known as Recirculation Aquaculture Systems (RAS).

Saltwater Aquaculture in Northern California : Main advantages of recirculating aquaculture systems

Source

These systems try to reduce the issues posed by conventional fish farms by recycling the water within a closed-loop system and thus reducing a farm’s contact with the environment—the water loops through several filters and treatments before recirculating back into a tank. A small amount of wastewater exits the system through a tank overflow into the environment. However, through treatment, the water is free from any parasites and pathogens.

Even though RAS is sustainable compared to other systems, it still poses a few challenges. However, systems like these can help reduce environmental impacts until new advanced systems are developed. As human populations increase beyond 9 billion people by 2050, farmed fish such as the proposed saltwater aquaculture in northern California might offer a reliable and efficient source of nutrition.

 

Author

  • Sigma Earth

    The author has done a master's in Environmental science and is currently working as chief Environmental Advisor with New Delhi State Government.

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