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BMPs for Aquaculture Production. Lori Marsh, Associate Professor, Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech September 19, 2005. Aquatic Animal Production (CAAP/AAP) Systems:. Flow-through Recirculating Net pen and cages Ponds

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bmps for aquaculture production

BMPs forAquaculture Production

Lori Marsh, Associate Professor, Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech

September 19, 2005

aquatic animal production caap aap systems
Aquatic Animal Production(CAAP/AAP) Systems:
  • Flow-through
  • Recirculating
  • Net pen and cages
  • Ponds
  • Lobster pounds, Crawfish, Shellfish, Aquariums, and Alligators
flow through systems
Flow-through Systems
  • Constantly flowing culture water
  • Commonly use raceways or tanks
  • Found throughout US
  • Require consistent volume of water
  • Most use well, spring or stream water as source
  • Primary method to grow salmonid species such as rainbow trout.
recirculating systems
Recirculating Systems
  • Highly intensive culture
  • Actively filter and reuse water
  • Water treatment including
    • Ammonia removal
    • Solids removal
    • Oxygenation
    • Temperature control….
  • Capital intensive at startup
net pens and cages
Net Pens and Cages
  • Suspended or floating holding systems
  • Located along a shoreline or pier or anchored off shore
  • Rely on natural water movement to assure water exchange/quality for fish
what s the problem with caaps
What’s the Problem with CAAPs?
  • 4,200 commercial facilities (1998 USDA census)
  • Water quality concerns include
    • Suspended solids, P, NH3, BOD
    • Drugs (e.g. oxytetracycline or formalin)
    • Chemicals (e.g. copper-containing pesticides)
    • Pathogens (primarily a concern for native biota)
bmps for feed management
BMPs for Feed Management
  • Applicable to all systems
  • Avoid overfeeding
  • Match feeding to feed requirements
  • Direct feed to fish
  • Use quality feed, and store to reserve nutrient quality
  • Handle feed to minimize fines
  • Active feed monitoring (net pens): detects when feed pellets are passing below fish.
bmp for removal of solids in a flow through system
Quiescent Zones typically constructed with wire mesh to exclude fish from last 10% of raceway.

Designed to insure that overflow rate is smaller than particle settling velocity.

Solids typically removed by suction through a vacuum head.

BMP for Removal of Solids in a Flow-through System
other bmps for solids removal
Other BMPs for Solids Removal
  • Sedimentation basins
    • Off-line settling (OLS) basins receive water and solids slurry from Quiescent Zone (QZ).
      • Note: QZ + OLS are most common settling system for flow-through systems.
    • Full-flow settling (FFS) systems stand alone and collect water flow from entire facility (need 2 operating in parallel for solids removal).
  • Secondary Settling
    • Microscreens
    • Vegetated ditches
    • Constructed wetlands
solids disposal
Solids Disposal
  • Dewatering
    • Natural evaporation
    • Mechanical assistance
      • Filtration
      • Squeezing
      • Capillary action
      • Vacuum withdrawal
      • Centrifugal
    • Chemicals are often added to assist with the dewatering process
solids composting
Solids Composting
  • Dewatered sludge mixed with bulking agent to add carbon, reduce moisture, increase aeration
  • Must be aerated (turned or by adding air)
  • Often screened to remove bulking agent
    • Advantages: reduces volume, stabilizes material, heating destroys pathogens, value added product
vermicomposting of solids
Vermicomposting of solids

Vermicomposting uses earthworms to transform organic wastes and results in two saleable products: vermicompost and worms.



why consider vermicomposting
  • Two saleable products
  • Possibility of worms as fish feed
  • Worm composting faster than microbial
  • Worms turn the material so machines/people don’t have to
  • Vermicomposting suitable for high- moisture waste
Material from beds was run through a trommel screen resulting in screened material, unscreened compost, and worms.




  • Processing rate very slow during extreme temperature conditions >29 C or < 10 C; therefore an unconditioned greenhouse does not appear suitable for this process.
  • During more optimum temperature conditions, worms processed 2.3 kg dry sludge/m2-week.
  • For the estimated sludge production at BRA, a 30.5 m x 91.5 m (100’x300’) structure would be required to house sufficient worm beds.
land application of solids
Land Application of Solids
  • Can land apply without dewatering
    • Hydraulic limitations not nutrient
  • Need provisions for times of frozen ground
  • BMPs for land application of animal wastes would apply, e.g. site conditions, weather, crop nutrient uptake, application rates, land availability, setbacks, slopes, neighbors, etc.
waste treatment options for effluent
Waste Treatment Options for Effluent
  • POTW
  • Lagoons: BMPs for lagoons apply, e.g. site selection, design, start up, maintenance, record keeping, clean water diversion, etc.
mortality management
Mortality Management
  • Avoid disease outbreaks
  • Inspect daily, remove mortality promptly
  • Proper disposal—composting, rendering
bmps for ponds
BMPs for Ponds
  • Avoid discharges e.g. seine harvest rather than draining; maintain freeboard for storm volume, drain from top when necessary.
  • Implement erosion control for pond ( protection from waves, aerators, vehicles, etc.) and watershed.
  • Manage rainwater: divert excess runoff,
  • Maintain good vegetation and avoid livestock production in watershed.
  • Use drugs and chemicals only as needed, use only FDA- and EPA-approved water quality enhancers and follow label directions carefully.
constituents of concern
Constituents of concern
  • Nutrients
  • Bacteria (?)
    • Carr, O.J. and R. Goulder. 1993. Directly counted bacteria in a trout farm and its effluent. Aquacult. Fish. Manage. Vol 24, no. 1, pp. 19-27.
  • Pharmaceuticals (?)
    • Halling-Sorensen, B. et al. 1998. Occurrence, fate and effects of pharmaceutical substances in the environment—A review. Chemosphere. Vol 36, no.2, pp. 357-393. Jan. (Nice abstract. Unfortunately, article is in German.)
  • Claude E. Boyd. Guidelines for aquaculture effluent management at the farm-level. Aquaculture. Vol 226 Issues 1-4, Oct. 2003. pp 101-112.
  • USEPA. BMPs for CAAP Facilities.