Designing Recirculating Aquaculture Systems
This self-paced course explains the basic engineering principles behind a successful recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) design. The objective of this course is to provide sufficient information so that you will be able to design, construct, and manage your own RAS system.
This self-paced course explains the basic engineering principles behind a successful recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) design. The objective of this course is to provide sufficient information so that you will be able to design, construct, and manage your own RAS system. Basic principles of business management and securing investment capital for the small family farm will also be reviewed. At the conclusion of the course, you will have received the essential information necessary to design your own system and have a fundamental knowledge of the principles influencing the numerous design options.
- Overview of recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) engineering
- Water quality objectives, monitoring and measurement
- Fish growth and system staging
- Engineering design of individual unit processes
- System management
- Fish health management
- Economic and risk evaluation
After completion you will be able to:
- Examine how to design a recirculating aquaculture system, component, or process to meet production objectives
- Determine how to best select appropriate water quality targets
- Develop a capability to design pumping systems
- Build an analytical capability to quantify costs of production
- Identify the critical factors for managing a fish farm
Who should enroll:
- The course is structured to be relevant for a wide range of student experiential levels, from novice to expert. Course expects no prior knowledge, but some background in aquaculture is always helpful. The course textbook provides more in depth treatment on a variety of the topics and there are references as well on individual topics at the back of each book chapter.
- Individuals considering starting an indoor recirculating farm and at all stages, e.g., planning stages, early years of operation, and expansion of current operations
- Consultants to the industry
- University and high school teachers that include an aquaculture component in their classes
- People (aquaculturalists) currently managing flow-through systems
Michael Timmons is a Professor Emeritus & Graduate Professor in the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University.
His program is centered on entrepreneurial-driven enterprise. He provides a foundation of information related to the production of aquacultured products, both fresh and saltwater, with an emphasis on sustainable and environmentally friendly engineering technologies. He works with private industry to improve technology of water recirculating systems for producing fin and shellfish. Each year for the last 15 years, he conducts a 1-week long short course on the principles of recirculating aquaculture.
Watch the First Module Below!
Welcome to the first module in the first section of recirculating aquaculture systems. By
the way, here is an important acronym. That’s called RAS, R-A-S. So, maybe you can
RAS people now. Okay. So, we’re going to go to our first slide which is here. Okay. So,
part of this introduction is to give you some reasoning and possibly why you should be
excited about even thinking about studying the subject in the first place. And that is
because some of the statistics here. Okay? What are they? Seafood provides essential
nutrition for over 1 billion people. Two, more than 37% of the world’s fish production is
traded internationally. Three, seafood is the most globally traded protein of all the
commodities. Beef, pork, chicken, lamb, etc., etc. It’s the most highest volume of all
those different commodities.
Next, the value of the fish trade exceeds international trade and all other animal proteins
combined. 75% of our fisheries are considered to be fully or overly exploited. Wow. That
they’re overexploited, yeah, that means they’re not there and where is the fish going to
come from to feed all these people? Okay. Next point, more than 50% of all food fish
supply comes from aquaculture. Wow. 50% of all the fish are coming from aquaculture
at this point as opposed to what we call wild catch, what you traditionally think of where
seafood comes from. People going out boats and nets and things like that but 50% of all
our seafood right now comes from aquaculture. When I started in this subject 30 years
ago, that number was like 5%. So, dramatically increasing. Aquaculture should be
surprising. Aquaculture is the fastest growing food production system currently in
existence. 8% annual growth. Okay. Are you excited? I hope so. So, look, here’s that
statistic I showed you about where the seafood is coming from. Looking out here 2015,
you can see about half of it is from aquaculture. There is some distinction people make
between aquaculture product going into the food market versus fish products that go
into the animal feed markets.
So, about a third or so of the wild catch goes into fishmeal. Okay? So, when you
subtract that off, then the aquaculture component is actually more than 50% of the wild
catch component. Okay? And then you see the little red line here going up. I forgot I had
this cursor and show you going up and up and up and up and up. Right? We’re going to
have seven or eight, nine billion people by 2050. Right now, we’re at seven, six and a
half billion, just keeps going up. And as the economies improve, which they are
worldwide, that means their ability to buy higher value products i.e. proteins, meat
proteins also increases. Okay. Next slide. Okay. Well, what kind of seafood do we
consume? Okay. And you look across the top here. Here it states. Things haven’t
changed too much. Shrimp is number one and salmon and tuna and tilapia down here
so look. So, I got these things numbered now. So, one, two, three, four, five, six. Again,
here’s something very interesting. Tilapia in the mid-90s, this was zero. Okay. So, tilapia
has made huge inroads into supplying part of that seafood demand. The commodity
products here in yellow represent aquaculture. Okay?
So, yes, aquaculture. Future of marine fisheries, well, they’re in trouble. Marine fisheries
is 25% of the world marine resources are overexploited. 30% of our migratory animals
are under severe pressure. It’s a problem and it is actually is kind of interesting. One
thing is that the Earth is two thirds covered with water but there’s not much of that water
that’s actually productive for growing fish or supporting seafood life. There’s only a few
hundred miles from each of the shores. So, that’s pretty much why we’re at a steady
state value in terms of what the oceans are producing. So, that 90 million metric tons as
a reference point. And now, we produce about 90 million metric tons of seafood product.
So, here’s where the gap starts to be pretty evident. Our current world population is
about six and a half billion people, by 2050, 9 billion which gives us what? An 84 billion
pound gap in the need for seafood product. Where is that going to come from? Well,
that’s why you’re taking the course because we think with good evidence that that is all
going to come from aquaculture and you’re going to learn about recirculating
aquaculture because it conserves It’s the most sustainable form of aquaculture. Okay.
Here, it shows you these supplies, what was happening. So, the wild catch you see, you
get different numbers here but it’s somewhere around 100 million metric tons, 90 million
metric tons and with good management, we think we might be higher but this is probably
Aquaculture keeps popping up, going up up up up up. Okay? And our percentage is
about 50% at this point. Okay. So, the per capita and important number for you to
realize is per capita consumption, that’s about worldwide, we think is probably in the 17.
This is kilograms so it’s about 17 or 38 pounds. This is per capita and that’s an
interesting number in itself because some countries, say Japan for example, might be
100 kilograms per capita and other countries might be two or three. My belief is that
given a well-priced or competitively priced product against the other meats, people will
choose seafood. Anytime you see numbers that are less than 15 or 20 kilograms per
person for that particular country, that means there’s a lot of opportunity. Okay? Where
are these fish going to come from? Well, relative to the U.S., we import almost all of our
fish. Most of these fish, the supply is going to come from low-income countries where
labor and environment where regulations tend to be less stringent. The environment is
going to be a concern. Are these countries able to supply products to western countries
where environmental issues are of a concern, versus, just simply price. And why is it
that the U.S. can’t compete? Well, maybe it’s because our products cost too much.
Okay. That wraps that one up folks.