To assess the suitability of split ponds for production of fish in Irish conditions. The utilisation of duckweed and algae to treat wastewater and potential ancillary benefits was also assessed.
If successful the technology has the potential to:
- Significantly expand Ireland’s freshwater sector through the utilisation of marginal agricultural land and peatland for aquaculture production.
- Diversify freshwater production traditionally based on salmon and trout to include perch and thereby increase aquaculture production.
In 2017, BIM in conjunction with Keywater Fisheries Ltd ran a trial on an innovative aquaculture system in Co. Sligo, Ireland
The trial involved the use of Recirculating Aquaculture Multitrophic Pond Systems (RAMPS)
- These RAMP systems involve the use of modified split ponds to produce fish
- European perch were spawned out of season by Keywater Fisheries in their state of the art hatchery
- The perch eggs develop quickly and hatch within days
- The juveniles are kept indoors in a controlled environment until big enough to be placed in the RAMPS system
- The fish are weighed, counted and transferred to the pond systems
- The systems are based on split pond systems developed by the US Department of Agriculture National Warmwater Aquaculture Station in Mississippi
- In the RAMPS system the fish are curtailed in part of the pond whilst the remaining part of the pond utilises algae and duckweed to treat any waste products
- Water is circulated using paddlewheels or airlift systems
- Environmental parameters are constantly monitored.
The fish were harvested in November 2017 and initial results are very promising with high survival and growth.
Future work will concentrate on modifying the systems to improve yield, energy efficiency and system performance.