Sea Technology

JUN 2018

The industry's recognized authority for design, engineering and application of equipment and services in the global ocean community

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20 ST | June 2018 W ith the global market for farm-raised fish forecast to exceed $200 billion by 2020, the aquaculture industry is seeking new technologies to both improve efficiencies and minimize downstream environmental impacts. One U.K.-based engineering company has re- cently begun looking to Earth-observation satellites to gather the seafloor data needed to find optimal sites for new fish farms. "The fish you eat are now more likely to come from a farm than from traditional wild-capture fisheries," said Dr. Glenn Shiell, principal marine ecologist at BMT, an international science and engineering company. "And the gap between farm-raised and wild-caught fish is wid- ening all the time." Shiell explained that as the world's population heads toward 9 billion people, producing adequate sources of high-quality food will become increasingly important. In comparison to other common protein sources—such as cows, pigs and chickens—fish offer a tremendous advan- tage because they require fewer feed resources to raise. "Compared with most other organisms, it is so much more efficient to grow fish," said Shiell, who works in BMT's Perth, Australia, of- fice. Since its inception in 1985, BMT has focused on applying advanced engineer- ing technologies to the marine environ- ment. It has developed numerous algo- rithms to model complex processes in the world's oceans and rivers. Over the past two years, BMT, in collaboration with its partner, the University of Western Austra- lia, has developed a suite of customized tools to meet the complex demands of the growing aquaculture industry, en- compassing numerical modeling, marine habitat map- ping and environmental management strategies. "BMT's modeling tools assist managers to determine the carrying capacity of the marine environment," said Shiell. "In simpler terms, [the models determine] how many fish you can farm without seriously affecting the health of the marine environment, or its dependent ecosystems. Despite the social benefits that come with aquaculture, it is important that its expansion is carefully managed—and this is the key starting point," he added. To apply and calibrate their models, BMT needs a va- riety of high-quality data, ranging from water depth to current direction and speed. Familiar with the advantag- es of satellite-derived bathymetry—relatively new tech- nology—BMT learned these products were available for a project area in the Arabian Gulf, and, as a starting point, decided to try them in its fish farm models. Bathymetry from Satellites TCarta, a geospatial products and services company based in Bristol, U.K., has seen a surge in inquiries from Aquaculture Goes High Tech Satellite-Derived Bathymetry for Fish Farm Site Selection By Richard Flemmings Credit: BMT Group, The University of Western Australia and TCarta Proposed fish farming sites modeled using TCarta's satellite-derived products and ser- vices.

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