Boosting green conversion in cage farming

BioMar is partnering with Danish aquaculture stakeholders Dansk Akvakultur, AquaPri, DTU Aqua, DTU-Mek and Hvalpsund Net to boost the green conversion for sea cage farming of trout. Together, they have initiated project Hav-Tek, for which the Danish Green Development and Demonstration Programme (GUDP)  has recently granted  support of DKK 4.1 million. Hav-Tek aims to strengthen environmental technology solutions for improved trout farming in sea cages.

Enhanced environmental footprint of feed

One of the aims of the project is to develop high-tech feed with a better eco-efficiency (lower emission of nutrients per kg of fish produced) and that allows for modifying the sink rate of fish faeces in order to enable faeces collection inside the cages. Moreover, special focus will be set on reducing phosphorous content in the feed. The feed will be tested on a commercial sea cage trout farm in order to document its capability to improve environmental and production technology parameters.

Raising efficiency of net pens for faeces collection

The project also comprises modelling a special net for the collection of fish faeces. Until now it has not been possible to develop or try out a method for faeces collection that is suited for the harsh currents present in  Danish waters. In other words, the development of a concept-net is  vital for the success of the project and is thus thoroughly modelled before its production and before a full scale commercial trial is carried out.

Impact on cage farming outside Denmark

The outcome of the Denmark based project Hav-Tek is expected to be a better eco-efficiency on Danish sea cage farms that are already  highly climate friendly and resource efficient. The outcome of this project can be of great interest to fish farms outside Denmark, too, as it opens the doors to access new feed types and new nets with faeces collection functionality.

Henning Priess, director at AquaPri A/S, the main applicant for project Hav-Tek, says: “Utilising the sea for the production of high quality animal protein is vital for reaching the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the UN. The GUDP project Hav-Tek enables us to move onward on this on a sustainable basis. If we can both reduce the phosphorous content of the feed and collect the faeces at the cages, this way of producing animal protein will become even more sustainable.”

Generates enthusiasm

The aquaculture industry has big expectations. At AquaPri, director Henning Priess is convinced that the project can generate a substantial advantage as it allows for being first movers in the creation of new solutions to the development of sustainable aquaculture:

 ”Potentially, faeces collection at the cages will turn out to be a game changing parameter for both small sea cage farms like the ones in Denmark and for many others around the world. Once we have managed to boost this development this will confirm that Denmark still holds a position as a front runner regards to sustainable fish farming and feed,” says Henning Priess.

 The Danish fish farmers association Dansk Akvakultur is enthusiastic about project Hav-Tek:

 ”Aquaculture undoubtedly plays a role in how to produce healthy food in a way that is friendly to our climate and environment. It makes a difference to continue the big efforts for developing new solutions that can enhance parameters related to environment, climate and sustainability. We have clear expectations that this project under the auspices of the Danish Green Development and Demonstration Programme will reveal new environmental technology solutions serving to alleviate the environmental impact of sea cage farming,” says Lisbeth Jess Plesner, manager of project Hav-Tek and chief consultant at Dansk Akvakultur.

 For BioMar, being a partner in project Hav-Tek is an important step forward in the innovative development of specially designed feed solutions for fish for future generations. Ole Christensen, Vice President, BioMar EMEA Division, shares the enthusiasm of the project partners:

 “BioMar is proud to contribute to the implementation of projects of this reach. We trust in good partnerships and in the skills and know-how of our global R&D team that is focused on feed for aquaculture. The future of the aquaculture value chain definitely must be based upon continuous efforts for responsible and sustainable development and innovation.”

 *Project Hav-Tek has received a grant from the Danish Green Development and Demonstration Programme (GUDP) under the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark.

Picture: AquaPri