The aquaculture sector


Aquaculture is the fastest growing economic area in the food industry. According to the FAO (2009), demand for aquaculture products has increased dramatically in the last three decades, from 11Kg/person/year in 1970 to almost 16 Kg/person/year in 2000. Fisheries products are currently one of the most important sources of animal protein in the world, representing 25% of the proteins ingested in developing countries and 10% in Europe and North-America (APROMAR, 2004).Currently, European aquaculture has a target of doubling its production in the next decade (EATiP, 2007) and offshore aquaculture is commonly perceived as the only solution to meet future demands by simultaneously overcoming environmental, geographical and political restrictions (Ryan, 2004).

In order to reduce fishing pressure on the oceans and supply the increasing demand, aquaculture will thus have to double its production in the coming years. This need is driving the aquaculture sector to move from coastal areas to offshore waters, with important technological challenges.For instance, offshoring installations include developing livestock production (which are highly sensitive to climate conditions), submersible or semi-submersible cages, etc. Clearly, in the OMRs, the potential and viability of offshore aquaculture is enormous, but the costs are very high, especially due to mooring operation and maintenance activities. 

Benefits with Tropos

Offshore aquaculture needs further development, and multi-use platforms could provide the opportunity to achieve successful offshore aquaculture operations further from the coast. The Troposproject will develop a new fish culture module taking advantage from the facilities that the platform offers. The Tropos platform, focused on the integrated exploitation of resources, will provide offshore aquaculture with important synergies in energy exploitation, protection for the cages, mooring, logistics and transport, among others. The application of different technologies for offshore aquaculture will be possible, both due to its potential integration with Ocean Thermal Energy into electricity (OTEC) and other renewable energy supply, and due to the joint use of infrastructures, that will also optimise operation costs.

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