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Smart Systems to Enhance Sustainability and Add Value to Marine Aquaculture

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

Citation:  2021 ASABE Annual International Virtual Meeting  2100523.(doi:10.13031/aim.202100523)
Authors:   Steven G Hall, Matthew D Campbell, Vashti M Campbell, Alex Geddie, Michael O Frinsko, Marlon Greensword, Rifat Hasan, Nitesh Kasera, Charles Malveaux, Diplina Paul, Melody Thomas, Daniel Smith, Russell Smith, Sierra Young
Keywords:   Aquaculture, autonomous vehicles, automation, mariculture, value added, water quality, sustainability

Abstract. Aquaculture of aquatic plants and animals is the fastest growing protein sector in the world. However, concerns about sustainability have been raised including potential impacts on nutrients (eutrophication); disease, and impacts on wild fish/fisheries. Conversely, with wild fisheries already at or beyond sustainable catch in many areas, aquaculture may be the most efficient and sustainable way of producing more aquatic foods and resources. Smart systems include both automated electronic systems and smart management of resources – e.g. waste treatment and value added.

Automation in aquaculture already includes many commercially available water quality sensors.

Autonomous and semi-autonomous flyers (e.g. multicopters, ‘drones‘), boats and underwater vehicles can help sense water quality parameters in open (e.g. estuary, ocean) systems. With further development, these systems may also allow active interventions to reduce the impacts of storm events, toxicity and other environmental impacts.

Smart management of “wastes” – e.g. nutrients – should use current knowledge to add value, perhaps with multitrophic aquaculture systems. For example finfish wastes may be used to produce macro and microalgae; some of which may be fed to shellfish, enhancing water quality, producing food, energy and other resources.

Truly wise management of these sectors may allow increased aquacultural productivity as well as optimal focus and protection of critical conservation areas. Much future work should focus on smart thinking to add value; and corobotics, where robots provide people with more information, allowing wiser decisions, resulting in more sustainable and productive aquaculture systems.

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