Citing the challenges of inshore fish farming, a Maine-based company has introduced a containment system for raising a diversity of marine fish in rough open ocean conditions.
Ocean Farm Technologies Inc., located in Searsmont, Maine, said the competition for inshore areas to farm fish and the lack of “patient capital” for new investments will mean “finfish aquaculture will happen substantially in offshore, exposed open ocean areas.”
The company’s new, patent pending AquaPod net pen is constructed of individual triangular net panels fastened together in a spheroid shape, and functions as a total containment system for finfish while submerged or partially surfaced.
AquaPod net pens can be constructed to any size to fit individual customer’s needs, with a practical range of 10 meter diameter (400 cubic meters) to 27 meter diameter (9,800 cubic meters).
The Aquapod was developed in cooperation with the engineering department at the University of Maine, the University of New Hampshire, lead consultant Kleinschmidt USA, and a team of independent structural and marine engineering consultants.
Due to the modular structure and the relatively small structural units, tensioned vinyl coated galvanized steel wire mesh can be used in place of synthetic netting. This guarantees predator control in areas where sharks, seals, sea lions, and crocodiles have made fish farming impractical.
The ‘exoskeleton’ design of the AquaPod containment system also allows for internal structures providing habitat for the cultivation of flatfish species such as halibut and flounder.