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2017 09 07 Coppens 35

Why choose RAS?

With the industry growing and evolving simultaneously, the goal of feeding the world in a sustainable manner becomes an achievable goal. RAS offers the opportunity to sustainably farm fish with comparatively low amounts of water on land. This type of farming is highly productive and can progress quickly as it keeps optimal conditions for the fish at all times. RAS is not limited by seasonal influences like traditional farming methods. Next to that there is a high degree of control over the production process.

Coppens Aqua Center 005

Why did we start growing fish on land in the first place?

One of the main reasons is that this offers the opportunity to farm, for example, tropical species in cold conditions. Another reason is that you can position the farm close to the market where you want to supply fish to and lower transportation costs. It also offers you the possibility to choose a good water supply in an area where you know the borehole or drainage water to be really good. Another thing is that you control the conditions for the fish. You can look after optimal conditions all the time. In the case of any diseases, you have much more control as well. Finally, you can prevent escapees. In cage farming, sometimes fish unfortunately do escape and can mingle with wild stocks, but this is near impossible in a RAS farm.

RAS advantages

  • Minimum water requirement
  • Full control of production parameters
  • Stable and predictable production
  • A sustainable future for aquaculture
  • Isolation from environmental and climate-related factors
  • Allows production at optimal locations
  • Captures the solids produced in the system
  • Fish escape control
  • Reduced environmental impact due to water filtration
Alltech Coppens Plant 009

What are the key challenges?

One of the most important things is that you keep constant optimal conditions. The water quality tends to fluctuate with differences in daily feed rate, grading and harvesting, feed or recipe changes etc. Under these dynamic conditions the farmer’s task is to keep a good balance and provide conditions that favor the fish and the bacteria in the filters. Another challenge is that for “new” species RAS often have to be finetuned to suit the specific requirements of that species. This development takes time but will lead to even better systems. Off flavor is another challenge that can affect the fish in RAS as it often does in other farming methods. Purging harvested fish works well to get rid of off flavor but a lot of work is put into preventing off flavor.

What does the future look like for RAS farming methods and aquaculture?

RAS farming will increase and continue to improve the whole aquaculture industry. There's a very big movement toward keeping smolts onshore. It offers much more control and no issues with sea lice. So, this industry has seen that this is a big benefit to them. RAS farming by nature is also very sustainable. You can reach a lower carbon footprint. You can use less water and you have less pollution. Alltech Coppens produces and supplies RAS feeds already for some 25 years and dedicates a substantial part of its R&D to make sure our RAS feeds are at the forefront of the industry.