Fish Farms - Reviewing the Rise of African Aquaculture
Brendan Cook | May 24, 2017
Examining emerging fish farms in Africa where aquaculture systems promote sustainable food sources for the future.
A recent study by the World Food and Agriculture Organization indicates that the majority of the global workforce engaged in fisheries and aquaculture operations is concentrated in Asia. Not surprisingly, China's rich history in farming fish allows them to lead the world in aquaculture exports, producing nearly 60 billion tons. Many people are surprised to note that following Asia, Africa harvests the second highest aquaculture yield per capita (excluding hydroponic sites) in the world.
The Rise of African Fish Farms
The majority of fish consumed in Africa is harvested from commercial fishing, however, there is an upturn in favor of fish farms on the continent. The United Republic of Tanzania, Egypt, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo lead the movement by producing the majority of farmed products. The food produced sustains Africa’s growing nutritional demands and the aquaculture industry provides local jobs with a valued regular source of income.
Aquaculture has proven to be an effective stimulus to improve economic growth and the wellbeing of the local communities. In an effort to spur and assist with developing markets for fish farms, South Africa is hosting the World Aquaculture Conference in Cape Town. This event will provide a forum to investigate and discuss aquaculture as a means of increasing food supply and of expanding economic development. By hosting the event, South Africa hopes to provide the ideal platform to ignite the industry throughout the continent.
Regulating Aquaculture Sites
It is well established that fish farms have the capability of feeding an entire continent and increasing economic strength. However, reaching an adequate level of sustainability is not as easy as flipping a switch. Time and training are required to develop proper procedures and practices that will lay the foundation for successful sites economically and ecologically.
Performing regular, effective and ongoing inspections of fish farms will ensure that each site meets suitable standards. These can be based on research and criteria developed to grow and protect unique African aquaculture practices. Similar to South Africa, the United States acknowledges the benefits of the aquaculture industry. Currently, American interests are in the process of developing practices that will lead to a establishing a sustainable aquaculture program there.
Monitoring Sites with Underwater Drones
Deep Trekker Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV), customarily referred to as underwater drones, have proven to be an ideal solution for monitoring, assessing and regulating aquaculture sites. Since 90-percent of a fish farm is below the water surface, utilizing a mobile underwater camera makes for easy, cost-effective examinations. With a built-in 4K or HD camera, Deep Trekker ROVs have the capability to consistently provide clear images of daily underwater operations and the state of the stock.
Using Deep Trekker ROVs, fish farmers and site managers can:
- Monitor fish health;
- Closely inspect behavior for signs of distress; Investigate the integrity of enclosures and predator nets for signs of damage;
- Observe and assess feedings;
- Collect sediment and water samples;
- Evaluate mooring lines.
Deep Trekker offers specific tools to allow ROVs to perform a variety of maintenance and surveillance tasks:
- Mort Retrieval System Recover morts and bring them to the surface for immediate evaluation.
- Net Repair Quickly repair tears in netting to prevent loss in stock before commercial diving teams can arrive to perform permanent fixes.
- Side Facing Auxiliary Camera Additional cameras can be mounted on the ROV to inspect and record netting while navigating past.
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