Kongeaen River fish farm. (Photo: Martin Dam, DTU Aqua)
Aquaculture industry shifts toward saltwater fish farming
Friday, March 11, 2011, 00:30 (GMT + 9)
Denmark’s environmentally friendly aquaculture will soon include saltwater fish farms through a technological solution that could turn into a popular export.
The country's green model fish farms use water from boreholes instead of from rivers and recirculate water - recycling as much as 95 per cent of it.
The Technical University of Denmark (DTU) Aqua and several other key industry members are now joining hands to breed saltwater and freshwater fish like large rainbow trout and salmon and move it inland.
The project is being supported by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries' Green Development and Demonstration Programme (GUDP).
"The production of fish in the aquaculture industry is increasing in several countries, but so far Denmark has not increased production significantly, mainly because of environmental restrictions,” noted technical project manager Per Bovbjerg Pedersen, from DTU Aqua in Hirtshals.
“But why should the Norwegians produce our salmon if we can do it just as well - and without compromising the environment?"
He said the main objective is to raise more fish while possibly slashing nitrogen emissions.
"This will be done partly through applying a known technique in freshwater farming, whereby bio-filters are used to convert the ammonia excreted by the fish into nitrate. Now the goal is to develop the technology to do the same with salt water, in order to convert this nitrate into nitrogen which can be released as a harmless gas," he explained.
In a four-year project supported by GUDP, DTU Aqua and other industry players will create technology to farm large rainbow trout inland in salt water. During the second two years, the project will grow to test the feasibility of farming Atlantic salmon in inland saltwater fish farms.
The work is being carried out at the North Sea Science Park in Hirtshals in collaboration with industry representatives including leading Danish food producer Biomar and breeding, processing and sales firm AquaPri.
Per Bovbjerg believes that the actual technology will have equally strong export potential.
"Denmark is already a world leader in water recirculation technology and model fish farms, thanks to our unique composition of components drawn from our experience in water recirculation techniques. The aim is to further exploit and expand the Danish position in the field of water recirculation by combining it with breeding techniques, equipment and complete plant solutions for saltwater fish farming," he concluded.
By Natalia Real