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Engineering Challenges in Marine Aquaculture

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2018 ASABE Annual International Meeting  1800934.(doi:10.13031/aim.201800934)
Authors:   Steven G Hall, Matthew Campbell, Alexander Geddie, Melody Thomas, Diplina Paul, Devon Wilcox, Russell Smith, Nathaniel Eddy, Michael Frinsko, Simone Wilder, Kate Doman, Daniel Smith, Justin Traenkle, Ryan Kelly
Keywords:   Aquacultural engineering, aquaculture, estuary, finfish, marine, marine aquaculture, offshore systems, recirculating aquaculture system, shellfish


Engineered aquacultural systems are increasing around the world, and now exceed wild caught fisheries as the primary source of seafood (FAO). Much aquaculture is done in freshwater systems including ponds and recirculating aquaculture systems. However, both near shore and offshore marine systems are on the increase, with some 356,000 km of coast worldwide (CIA World Factbook). The water area within 200 miles of a country (exclusive economic zone) is about 71 million square kilometres, which exceeds the 49 million square kilometres of agricultural land worldwide, implying a great potential for productivity. There are, however, a number of challenges with these systems, and engineers can and must contribute to enhancing productivity while simultaneously improving sustainability. Among these challenges are: 1) salinity; 2) wave energy; 3) coastal storms; 4) distance; 5) waste management; 6) nutrient efficiency; 7) impacts on natural fisheries; and 8) competition with other human uses. Both reality and perception are very important for expansion of coastal aquaculture. There are huge areas but finding ways to minimize impacts on both natural and human systems, technical, economic and aesthetic are critical to aquacultural success. Our team is working on addressing these issues which will be needed as fish consumption increases and population continues to rise toward 10 billion.

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