|“With earth’s burgeoning human population to feed we must turn to the sea with understanding and new technology. We need to farm it as we farm the land.”–Jacques Cousteau
What is the state of technology for open ocean fish farming? How are U.S. policies and programs helping or hindering the inevitable movement toward sustainable aquaculture in the open ocean? These and a host of other questions are addressed in the May/June issue of the Marine Technology Society Journal, Vol. 44, No. 3.
Edited by John S. Corbin, President of Aquaculture Planning and Advocacy LLC and former Manager of the Hawaii Aquaculture Development Program, this timely issue gives historical perspective, describes the current state of affairs, and unveils the technologies of the future. Here are brief overviews of the peer-reviewed papers:
- Sustainable U.S. Marine Aquaculture Expansion, A Necessity – In his overview, John Corbin sets the stage for this special issue by providing detailed background information on U.S. seafood consumption, supply, and projected needs. He looks at the potential for future disruption of seafood imports and reviews the status and potential for the development of the expansive and diverse U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone.
- Site Selection Criteria for Open Ocean Aquaculture – Daniel Benetti, of the University of Miami, and his co-authors focus on site selection criteria for open ocean aquaculture, not only practical considerations like ocean conditions, materials and manpower, but also socioeconomic and political issues. Among other things, they address lessons that aquaculture operations can learn from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
- A Case Study of an Offshore SeaStation Sea Farm – Gary Loverich discusses the SeaStation cage his company, Ocean Spar LLC, has been developing since 1994, presenting a review of a large commercial cage system operating off Keahole Point, Kona, Hawaii. His paper describes the features that make the cages unique, as well as the challenges that arise when multiple cages are deployed to grow fish at commercial scale .
- Technology Needs for Improved Efficiency of Open Ocean Cage Culture – Richard Langan, University of New Hampshire, explores the status of aquaculture support systems capable of autonomous operation in the open ocean. Successful farming will require necessary tasks, such as feeding, maintenance, and observation of stock and the environment to be carried out routinely, even when harsh conditions may keep vessels and personnel on shore.
- Shellfish Culture in the Open Ocean: Lessons Learned for Offshore Expansion – Daniel Cheney, of the Pacific Shellfish Institute, joins his fellow authors for a look at the state of the art, as well as future prospects and challenges, in shellfish aquaculture, providing three case examples to illustrate the extent and types of open ocean shellfish farming underway.
- What Can U.S. Open Ocean Aquaculture Learn from Salmon Farming? – The U.S. imported 83% of its seafood needs in 2008. In this paper, John Forster, of Forster Consulting, Inc., explores the history of farmed salmon, which he has been involved with since the late 1960s. He discusses why other countries have been successful and the lessons for the U.S., noting that for open ocean aquaculture to succeed, containment systems must be easily deployed and operated, and governments must create space in their coastal waters.
- Deep Ocean Water Resources in the 21st Century – Brandon Yoza, University of Hawaii, and his co-authors from Norway, Japan and Hawaii, discuss some cutting edge, large-scale concepts for using deep ocean water for energy generation and offshore aquaculture. They explain how “artificial upwelling”–bringing deep ocean water to the surface mechanically–could enhance the ocean food web and restore depleted marine life at all trophic levels.
- Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture Systems: The Need for a New Social Contract for Aquaculture Development – Barry Costa-Pierce, University of Rhode Island, describes ecological aquaculture, an emerging, new paradigm for global aquaculture planning, policy, and development. He argues that policymakers should consider this approach to foster environmentally, economically, and socially responsible aquaculture.
- Marine Stock Enhancement, a Valuable Extension of Expanded U.S. Marine Aquaculture – Guest editor John Corbin provides a brief commentary on the history and current status of U.S. marine stock enhancement as a valuable tool for coastal fisheries management. He discusses the need for increased research funding, greater infrastructure planning and development, and inclusion of marine stock enhancement in current national ocean policy and marine spatial planning efforts.
- U.S. Open Ocean Fish Farming: Are We There Yet? – Randy Cates, of Cates International, Inc., and Hukilau Foods LLC, provides a commercial, offshore fish farmer’s hard-won insights into the state of the technology as well as the status of emerging federal support policies and programs. From his perspective of 10 years of research and commercial experience, Cates discusses research needs for open ocean fish farming and highlights areas for innovation that could help successfully establish commercial farming in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone.
To Get Your Copy of This Issue
Purchase Vol. 44, No. 3 of the MTS Journal through the MTS Store.
or by calling (410) 884-5330 during business hours on the East Coast.
Please e-mail or call Susan Branting or Suzanne Voelker at (410) 884-5330.
The Marine Technology Society is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit professional society comprising ocean engineers, technologists, policy makers and educators. Incorporated in 1963, it provides the ocean community with forums for the exchange of information and ideas through its peer-reviewed MTS Journal, conferences, newsletters and website (www.mtsociety.org).