Nelson\'s Cawthron Institute is carrying out a groundbreaking open ocean shellfish farming project intended to boost aquaculture exports by tens of millions of dollars.
Led by Cawthron Institute aquaculture scientist Kevin Heasman, the five year project recently received NZD 6 million from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Stuff reported.
Heasman said the project aimed to revolutionise the current open ocean farming structures to make them more efficient and low maintenance.
In the scientist’s opinion, it is the first research project in the world to look at developing new technology appropriate for the offshore environment.
He explained that one of the main differences between inshore and open ocean farming was the amount of energy produced by surrounding water impacting on the mussel lines.
While inshore mussel farms consist of floats on the surface with mussel lines directly attached to them, current offshore farms consist of fewer floats on the surface and the backbone of the farm under water, with mussel lines attached.
In Heasman’s view, the benefit of the system is that when the waves are coming past there are fewer floats to transfer the energy to the backbone and less energy means less maintenance and potential product losses.
Heasman said the aquaculture industry had expanded their inshore farming offshore but the structures were not really suitable for open ocean waters. In this regard, he said that open ocean farming would not replace inshore farming, adding that the current ocean farming structure was very labour intensive because of the regular check-ups and amendments needed.
Source: FIS // Original Article