Offshore Fish Farming

This article found in gcaptain newsletter today is very negative to the prospects of Offshore Fish Farming: https://gcaptain.com/gulf-mexico-fish-farms-noaas-100-million-mistake/

Another thing that “cannot be done in USA” because… ???
Yes Offshore Fish Farming is more difficult and expensive than conventional Aquaculture in dams or floating pens in protected waters, but it is something that is being looked at by serious operators in many countries.

The cost of offshore fish farming is obviously higher than in dams and pens, but not necessarily more than in tanks, or raceways with re-circulation and wast control. Therefore the fish that can be reared offshore must be high value, or fast growing/large volume species. Multi-culture farming is also a possibility

To farm Atlantic Salmon in pens requires conditions that only exists in a small part of US waters, such as in Main, NW USA and Alaska. But by going into deeper offshore waters, it is possible to take cool water from deeper down, thus avoiding annual temperature swings, algae bloom, parasites, sickness caused by viruses and surface pollution.

In Norway there are several several projects being contemplated, all for Atlantic Salmon. In Japan there are plans to rear Bluefin Tuna in offshore locations.

One of the possibilities are to use surplus Bulk Carriers to do this, but there are also plans for purpose built systems of some magnitude. Here is a couple of them: https://www.km.kongsberg.com/ks/web/nokbg0238.nsf/AllWeb/7C0B0102D79C3321C1257F8C00219350?OpenDocument

Another is ship shaped: http://www.seafoodsource.com/news/aquaculture/salmon-farm-to-be-built-on-world-s-largest-ship

Or a the totally enclosed type: http://nortrade.com/sectors/articles/sustainable-fish-farming-solutions-from-feed-to-egg/

Will Offshore Fish Farming become reality in the near future? Yes, very likely, but not necessarily in any of the forms presented above.

Does it exist already? Yes, but not for Salmon yet: https://rctom.hbs.org/submission/open-blue-and-the-innovation-of-open-ocean-fish-farming/
This is an example of a low cost/high volume operation in warm waters, which could be copied in the GoM.

Plenty of fish farming in British Columbia. A growth industry. Maybe too much, says the natural salmon fishermen. To them, fish farming is a ticking time-bomb ready to devastate the natural Pacific Salmon runs with genetic mixing, and diseases caused by growing too many fish in a small area. Many people around here look at farmed fish the way many Europeans look at GMO foods–as something unnatural and unwholesome. Irrational but there it is. Which is a reason why Alaska has comparatively few fish farms. Alaska is one of the last places on Earth–maybe the last place–where completely natural salmon runs are healthy and prospering. Alaskan salmon fishermen are fixated on keeping the spawning grounds pure and untrammeled, even if that means telling mining companies to take a hike, when it comes to making new mines in watersheds.

BC is different. Fish farming is big. Maybe selling overseas. Don’t know.
Emrobu can correct me, but natural BC salmon runs have been dwindling for years, from habitat destruction, and the locals need the industry farmed fish brings to isolated places on BC’s huge coastline.

In Puget Sound shellfish culture has been around for generations.
The salmon hatchery industry isn’t fish-faming, but closet it. For a hundred years we’ve made artificial salmon hatcheries in place like Issaquah, upstream of Puget Sound, to provide fish runs for commercial and recreational fishermen to catch. The hatcheries are compensation for the fact that we’ve destroyed the natural spawning grounds on Puget Sound. But the returns on the hatchery fish, as I understand it, have been dwindling over time, almost as if you can’t fool Mother Nature.

I don’t know much about fish as an industry. I have seen natural and hatchery salmon running in the Skagit in Washington. There’s a hatchery near my school for Capilano river fish. I think there’s aquaculture between the mainland and the island; the water taxis makes some money doing crew changes for them. I thought they were pen-type operations. The common feeling here is that aquaculture is polluting. Our local celebrity ecologist, Dr. David Suzuki, runs a lot of consumer education efforts to try to get people to make responsible sea food choices. My neighborhood has several large sea-food packing plants. I don’t eat any seafood myself, so I really haven’t looked into it. Sorry.

well there are or at least there were salmon farms off the coast of Chile until that Tsunami a few years ago wiped them out,but they will be back regardless

i have eaten both wild and farmed salmon and shrimp ,i’ll the extra for the wild stuff any day ,farm fresh is not good tasting at all,but it’s cheap o people will say it is great ,what ever

[QUOTE=exodus;191984]well there are or at least there were salmon farms off the coast of Chile until that Tsunami a few years ago wiped them out,but they will be back regardless

i have eaten both wild and farmed salmon and shrimp ,i’ll the extra for the wild stuff any day ,farm fresh is not good tasting at all,but it’s cheap o people will say it is great ,what ever[/QUOTE]

Chile is a major producer and exporter of Atlantic Salmon, with dozens of cage farms in the protected inlets down south, where conditions are similar to the west coast of Norway and BC, Canada.
With the Russia ban on import of Norwegian and Scottish salmon, Chile took over much of that trade.
There are also Atlantic Salmon being farmed in Tasmania and New Zealand.

But this thread is about OFFSHORE fish farming, not inshore or land based and not only Salmon.
Because of the cost of shore based fish farming and pollution from cage farming etc., more and more interest is paid to moving offshore, i.e. open waters and possibly outside territorial waters.

This is a whole new ball game, and expensive to implement, but with great potential for profit, IF the right technology and species to be farmed can be found.
Of course the right place to put such activity, the infrastructure availability (feed stock, veterinary service and trained work force etc.) is very important, as well as market for the products.

It is a VERY interesting business, but also high risk.

You mentioned that bulkers were being considered. Do you reckon tankers could be used to deliver farmed fish to market alive?

I read once that some bright spark had developed a species and size specific pin board to acupuncture fish for stacking in cold, aerated water to ship them alive but paralyzed. I think this is a ghoulish idea, but interesting. Then again, the live lobsters at the market upset me. They have such cute faces. And they’re so interesting looking.

I guess one advantage of aquaculture is the reduction of by-catch. What will happen if predators target the farms? Many Cephalopods are very clever, and like an easy meal. Another cute, interesting animal. Calamari also makes me sad. They wouldn’t try to farm octopuses, would they? That’d be heinous. Let’s just farm algae. I’m comfortable with that. It could be profitable: you could sell carbon offset credits and delicious, healthy sea vegetables, chemicals, supplements, and fertilizer.

[QUOTE=Emrobu;191986] Let’s just farm algae. I’m comfortable with that. It could be profitable: you could sell carbon offset credits and delicious, healthy sea vegetables, chemicals, supplements, and fertilizer.[/QUOTE]

Yes, they are cute, but sooooo freaking delicious!
Lobster from Maine is especially tasty.

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Shipping salmon live across the Atlantic in “tankers” have been tried. it failed because the salmon got “seasick” and died.

There are quite large “Live fish carriers” transporting salmon over shorter distances though.
These are highly specialized and sophisticated vessel and a boom industry right now.
The largest fleet of such vessels belong to a company right here in Aalesund, with operations in Norway, Scotland. Canada, Chile and Australia: http://www.solvtrans.no/

There are also specially built vessels to deliver feed directly to the fish farms. These will also be serving to supply Offshore fish farms in the future. Here is the latest design: http://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/77447/norway-egil-ulvan-rederi-orders-two-lng-fuelled-fish-feed-carriers/

I guess one advantage of aquaculture is the reduction of by-catch.

Depends on how you see it. Farmed fish need feed to grow. Most of this feed is made from fish meal and oil, with addition of some plant matter (soya, tapioca etc.) In the early days it took 7 kg. of fish to produce feed enough to grow a salmon 1 kg. in weight.
This has now been reduced, but it still require a lot of Herring, Mackrel, Capelin etc. to produce fish feed pellets for a growing industry.
The aim is to increase the plant matter to close to 90% and use fish meal and oil made from cut-offs for the rest, but that is still a way off.

What will happen if predators target the farms? Many Cephalopods are very clever, and like an easy meal.

The biggest predators for fish kept in floating cages are birds, seals and whales. Acoustics are used to scare away the mammals, which raises a different sets of problems: http://uk.whales.org/fish-farms-and-acoustic-deterrent-devices-in-uk
To do it the American way,“shoot them” also raise problems: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/salmon-farms-that-slaughter-protected-seals-to-be-named-and-shamed-after-landmark-ruling-10373185.html
Using owl figurines to scare off seagulls is NOT effective, as seen here:

Another cute, interesting animal. Calamari also makes me sad. They wouldn’t try to farm octopuses, would they? That’d be heinous. Let’s just farm algae. I’m comfortable with that. It could be profitable: you could sell carbon offset credits and delicious, healthy sea vegetables, chemicals, supplements, and fertilizer.

No octopuses and squids have not been farmed yet, I think, but Algae are definitely a major potential, both as a food and fuel source of the future: http://www.algaeindustrymagazine.com/scalable-algae-microfarms-part-1/

In stead of sitting around waiting for the oil price to rise, why not look to this new frontier of Aquaculture in all it’s forms?
No need to worry about retaining your STCW CoC,or figuring out the intricacy of upgrading your domestic license with a minimum of cost and effort.

In stead of sitting around waiting for the oil price to rise, why not look to this new frontier of Aquaculture in all it’s forms?
No need to worry about retaining your STCW CoC,or figuring out the intricacy of upgrading your domestic license with a minimum of cost and effort.

I don’t think aquaculture, as it is now, requires a lot of lisenced people. Like I said, the only people I know who profit from it are water taxi skippers, and them, only once in a while. And it sounds gross and unsustainable. Your question doesnt make sense to me. It sounds like: “why wait for a profitable industry that exists to recover? Instead wait for a fishy scheme that doesn’t really exists yet to need your skills.”

One investment advisor guy that I know says that oil will perk up if Hillary Clinton is elected, because of her Saudi friendships. (don’t flame me, bros! I just report the news)

[QUOTE=Emrobu;191994]I don’t think aquaculture, as it is now, requires a lot of lisenced people. Like I said, the only people I know who profit from it are water taxi skippers, and them, only once in a while. And it sounds gross and unsustainable. Your question doesnt make sense to me. It sounds like: “why wait for a profitable industry that exists to recover? Instead wait for a fishy scheme that doesn’t really exists yet to need your skills.”

One investment advisor guy that I know says that oil will perk up if Hillary Clinton is elected, because of her Saudi friendships. (don’t flame me, bros! I just report the news)[/QUOTE]

Aquaculture doesn’t really exist?? It has existed for hundreds of years, but has just recently (last 30 years) become a major industry, with high-tech equipment and skills requirement.

It may not feature high on the list in North America, but on a worldwide basis it is a major growth industry.
Aquaculture produce nearly as much seafood as conventional fisheries: http://www.thefishsite.com/fishnews/25687/global-aquaculture-to-grow-further-in-2015/

Maybe I didn’t make myself clear; you don’t need maritime licenses to be engaged in aquaculture, just ability to think new and willingness to try something different.
The fact that the industry is under developed, but that there is a large market in North America, is an opportunity not a negative.

As Fish Farming move from sheltered inshore waters to offshore locations there will be need for mariners to operate the service vessels that go with it, which is not just water taxis.
Have a look at the links I posted above and you’ll get an idea of what is involved where the industry is already advanced. (Canada included)

All I’m saying is: jobs for lisenced mariners in aquaculture aren’t real yet. We can’t very well join an industry that doesn’t have any jobs for us, can we?

[QUOTE=Emrobu;191997]All I’m saying is: jobs for lisenced mariners in aquaculture aren’t real yet. We can’t very well join an industry that doesn’t have any jobs for us, can we?[/QUOTE]

No, like I said you DON’T need to be a licensed Mariner or Engineer to make aquaculture your career.
But what is the good of holding any license if cannot find a job in your field?

Presently nearly all aquaculture activity in Canada, especially in BC, is based on floating cages in protected inlets, but it doesn’t harm to have a Marine background and experience. You just have to be open to apply your knowledge and training for a different purpose.

I was of the impression that you are an adventurous sort that like to develop new things and new ideas. There are plenty of opportunities for that in Aquaculture, which is an industry in fast development, technically as well as on the marine biology side.

No opportunities in Canada?
A quick google search will resulted in thousands of available jobs world wide.
Here is a link to one site that may be of interest to you: http://www.jobmonkey.com/aquaculturejobs/aquaculture-engineer-jobs/

PS> No need to be a seafood eater to work in Aquaculture.

[QUOTE=ombugge;192027]No, like I said you DON’T need to be a licensed Mariner or Engineer to make aquaculture your career.
But what is the good of holding any license if cannot find a job in your field?

Presently nearly all aquaculture activity in Canada, especially in BC, is based on floating cages in protected inlets, but it doesn’t harm to have a Marine background and experience. You just have to be open to apply your knowledge and training for a different purpose.

I was of the impression that you are an adventurous sort that like to develop new things and new ideas. There are plenty of opportunities for that in Aquaculture, which is an industry in fast development, technically as well as on the marine biology side.

No opportunities in Canada?
A quick google search will resulted in thousands of available jobs world wide.
Here is a link to one site that may be of interest to you: http://www.jobmonkey.com/aquaculturejobs/aquaculture-engineer-jobs/

PS> No need to be a seafood eater to work in Aquaculture.[/QUOTE]

But I like alive fish. And clean water. And I have a job. It would be fun to tromp around the inlets and throw pellets into fish cages, though. See a lot of animals. Be out in the fresh air.

Bummer. Maybe they should put real mariners on fish farms, if they insist on farming fish.

Would I get fired if I happened to bring a fishing rod to work and threw some lures into the pen while I was throwing pellets at the fish :fish:?

[QUOTE=Flyer69;195872]Would I get fired if I happened to bring a fishing rod to work and threw some lures into the pen while I was throwing pellets at the fish :fish:?[/QUOTE]

Not much of a sport, is it? At least you aren’t literally shooting fish in a barrel. At least you said lures and not bait. Half credit. Honestly I don’t know if farmed fish get pellets or what the deal is.

The farmed fish get soylent green. Is it sporting if my lures are attached to 300 lb mono? ;D

[QUOTE=Flyer69;195886]The farmed fish get soylent green. Is it sporting if my lures are attached to 300 lb mono? ;D[/QUOTE]

Soylent Green??? Are you talking about Catfish in ponds in Kentucky??
Salmon feed pellets are made from fish meal, fish oil and some vegan base, like soy. They are trying to get them to accept more vegan feed, but you still need fish to feed fish, unless they end up tasting like vegetables.

How long until you see one of these off the coast of Alaska, BC or Main??: http://sysla.no/2017/03/07/havbruk/vil-kjore-rundt-med-laksen-i-gigaskip-pa-450-meter_194508/