OMC Asia: Biofouling – keeping it clean

OMC Asia: Biofouling – keeping it clean Having a biofouling management plan in place is crucial, according to Innovasea Systems' Tyler Sclodnick

Innovasea Systems' Tyler Sclodnick opened Session 5 at OMC Asia and said that working with ocean systems is all about energy – currents, winds and waves. This, he stated, makes the theme of his talk, biofouling, all the more significant because forces inflicted on a pen are amplified when the pen is dirty.

"The easiest way to eliminate ​these forces is to keep pens clean," he said. Biofouling causes three main problems. We rely on currents to pull out waste and bring in new, highly oxygenated water but this doesn't happen with a heavily fouled pen. The second problem is drag created on the pens and the third is parasites growing on the fish. These parasites can produce eggs that get caught in mesh, and having a fouled mesh makes that problem worse."

Sclodnick offered two ways to tackle biofouling – pulling the pens up into the air and letting them bake in the sun and dry, and cleaning with pressurized water. What's crucial, he said, is to have a biofouling management plan, study the problem and produce ways to maintain acceptable levels of drag, water exchange and parasites. A key parameter to look at is the solidity ratio - take photos of pens to analyse the solidity ratio and time relationship.

This session's latter part was a series of product presentations and a breakout session. Langley Gace introduced InnovaSea's submerged cages.

"Two million more people on this planet in future is a wonderful market opportunity but conditions at sea are extreme. Submerged aquaculture and real-time data are the solutions," he said, commenting that capital is a critical success factor, as are source of fingerlings, feed supply, marketing and skilled staff.

Marco Montagnoli presented the Maccaferri KikkoNet for marine cage aquaculture that is suited to the grow-out stage and designed with the customer, who provides the necessary size and dimension details. "This is the new frontier for offshore, and we believe very much in offshore development in bigger cages," Montagnoli told the audience.

David Campbell of Albatern discussed blue energy for exposed mariculture sites. Because increased automation is leading to more power requirements, energy opportunities abound in offshore aquaculture. Andi Jayaprawira Sunadim from Aquatec then took to the podium and pointed out that the area (offshore) with the most potential for aquaculture also has a big typhoon problem, so his company has developed a submersible cage that is cheap, withstands typhoons, is easy and fast to operate and can be submerged by itself.

Tran Manh of Steinsvik Co., Ltd presented a feeding and camera system that records information like fish behaviour and the speed at which they feed. This can be analysed to determine the correct feed amount. The camera monitors feed during the feeding process and pick up different feed intensities for different cages.

Drawing on the products introduced, participants were divided into small groups for a breakout session on how technology and methodology can be applied to Asia.  Questions to tackle included optimal cage size, farm size, investments, suitable species, possible markets, product form and operational issues. Participants came together and exchanged opinions, giving way to lively discussions on how offshore mariculture technology could work in the Asian region.

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