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Monday, September 22, 2008

Israel: A Happy Fish Is A Tasty Fish (Fish Farm Tech)

Depending on who you talk to, if you mention the phrase "fish farm" you will usually get three reactions--smiles and drooling, an ugly rebuke (note: they are probably an environmentalist) or a shrug on the shoulders (they have no clue what you are talking about).

While fish farming helps satisfy the craving for sea food, it does have its darker side with many critics slamming the practice of caging fish in small areas with little current (or momentum) in the water, causing many fish to die from outbreaks--forcing companies to use drugs to keep them alive (which makes them unattractive to us humans).

In order to help satisfy the corporations, environmentalists and the fish loving masses, one company called Subflex has found a unique way to raise fish en masse without compromising their overall health.

(Video: Explaining Subflex's technology, Credit: Subflex)

(Israel 21st Century) Unlike moored competing systems made of more rigid materials, the Subflex system is allowed to "roam" from its mooring point in any direction necessary, reducing stress on the cages and enabling natural diffusion of fish waste into the open sea. And, because of its modular nature, new cages can easily be added to a Subflex system to expand capacity when necessary.

One of the biggest problems with deploying a deepwater fish farm is the potential for inclement - even wild - weather that buffets the cages about, with the fish bumping into and damaging each other, causing wear and tear on the cages from the heavy waves, and, with enough stress, possibly causing the whole thing could come apart.

But the Subflex system has that covered, too, says Shapira. "When bad weather arrives, the crew can submerge the whole setup as far as necessary - up to 200 meters - thus keeping the fish out of reach of the heavy waves and winds." Close to the surface, Shapira says, the Subflex system has proven to be stable in surf of up to four meters - "but if necessary, the option exists to drop the cages, and raise them back up after the storm passes."

Subflex has already begun implementing their system for Royal Fish, who (according to Israel 21st Century) noticed that their fish were much tastier than usual, allowing them to charge premium prices (as the fish were in higher demand).

Hopefully Subflex's can export their methods internationally, as this could help not only help meet our planet's ever growing population demand for sea food, but allow us to eat healthier as well.

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