Land-based aquaculture is anticipated to grow ninefold over the next 15 years, and within this market segment, Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS), a form of closed loop aquaculture, offers a significant industry opportunity to increase production sustainability.
RAS technology unlocks immense
opportunities for businesses and consumers alike to access a fresh, healthful
protein source. As opposed to open aquaculture methods that require the ocean or direct freshwater sources, RAS is a self contained tank system that enables efficient water use, environment control and extreme flexibility in terms of location. RAS can function fully in urban areas and even in desert environments.
The location flexibility RAS provides can enable more cost-effective and convenient distribution than in-water located aquaculture affords. Farmers can place an RAS next to major transport hubs or, conversely, in areas with limited infrastructure, thus reducing distribution expenses and opening up new markets.
The natural progression of RAS farm technology has led us to the development of systems that not only farm fish in a more sustainable manner but also make beneficial use of byproducts that would otherwise be considered as waste in many other types of fish farms.
IRAFS is short for Integrated Recycling Aqua Farm Systems. The IRAFS Closed Loop Production System produces safe high quality food products that meet consumer demand while minimising the resource inputs and maximising conservation. Based on science and technology, this farming method has emerged as the best green alternative to provide consumers with value, taste and convenience in consumption of eco-friendly seafood and vegetable products that are grown together in a farm environment that more closely mimics nature.
Closed system aquaculture operations like the IRAFS design are providing better ways to farm ﬁsh. This involves barrier technologies that ensure no contact between wild and farmed ﬁsh, thus eliminating the most negative impacts of ﬁsh farming and signiﬁcantly reducing others. Recent large scale developments in closed containment have also led to better overall economics and pave the way for expansion and change in our food supply.
An IRAFS farm also converts fish farm waste products (fish manure) into fresh wholesome plant crops available year round thus further increasing value and returns while mitigating adverse environmental impacts. Perhaps more important is that an IRAFS farm does not use chemicals, antibiotics or pesticides in the growing process. The IRAFS fish rearing plan employs bio-security measures to ensure fish health and eliminate disease.
Land based fish farms based on IRAFS type designs are also poised to expand to a larger role in world wide aquaculture production due to the vast improvements in sustainability they provide over traditional open water type fish farming. These systems will become increasing more important in serving the large market for high value Canadian and U.S. domestic edible seafood supplies.
The need for change in seafood supply lead us to Aquaculture and now the need for changes and improvements in the way we farm fish has lead us to developing methods to conduct aqua farming in a more sustainable manner. Integrated food production using the proven principals of Aquaculture - Aquaponics combined with green energy technologies and utilisation of by-products works toward closing the loop in sustainable food farming.
In today's farms, we need to incorporate Biomimicry methods and implement sustainable solutions by emulating nature's time-tested patterns and strategies. The overall goal is to create products, processes, and policies that are well adapted to maintaining constant sustainable food production to the benefit of life on earth into the future.
As resources become increasingly scarce and more expensive we need to design farms with conservation and re-use technologies and we need to operate in a more efficient manner. The often ignored bi-products of one farm process need to be viewed as being valuable resources that can be reused or re-purposed within a broader more diversified operation.
If we were to look at the full possibilities and take the organic sustainable approach a step or two further to include integrated crop production via aquaculture- aquaphonics, and model operations with Biomimicry methods, we could certainly improve upon production output and greatly increase productivity per acre seen in even the best run conventional type farms.
The proof of this is being seen in numerous similar type operations around the world. What is more, these types of closed loop systems have been shown to reduce the resource input needs tremendously while making maximum use of bi-products to help produce a greater variety of safe food in a very energy efficient manner.
IRAFS Group Main Website