Recirculating Aquaculture (RAS)

What is RAS?

Instead of the traditional method of growing fish outdoors in open ocean, ponds or raceways, a RAS system rears fish in a closed containment system with a “controlled” environment. Recirculating systems filter and clean the water for recycling back through to the fish, recovering waste products that can supply nutrients for vegetable production in an aquaponics system.

Some Advantages of RAS Farming
  • This method can achieve the optimal growing environment. This creates a stable and predictable production basis 365 days a year. Little to no outside influences or pathogens can affect the fish.
  • RAS addresses the growing demand for greener, cleaner, safer, transparent and more sustainable methods of growing fish.
  • Low water requirement as the large majority of the water is cleaned then recirculated.
  • Significant reduction in disease due to the ability of the operator to control all aspects of the fish raising.
  • The fish are free from any Hormones, Antibiotics or Chemicals.
  • High production of quality fish in a relatively small area with a limited supply of water and land.
  • The flexibility to locate production facilities near large markets including “inland” locations and “food deserts.”
Hormone Free - Antibiotic Free - Artisanal - Local

How Does a RAS System Work?

The Attributes of RAS

We believe there are many forms of responsible and sustainable aquaculture, including responsibly managed pond and lagoon aquaculture as well as ocean cage or net pen farming. The Aquaculture community has a large responsibility to increase its contribution to the global demand for a readily available and healthy protein. The population is growing and we must continue to find ways, as a community, to contribute to these demands. Aquaculture has come a long way over the years. Some of the main challenges still confronting other forms of Aquaculture are issues that the RAS community has already managed to address. These include some of the following:

Some of the larger Issues associated with other forms of Aquaculture RAS

ESCAPES

Some Aquaculture is causing an impact over the ecological impacts that escaped farmed species can have on wild fish. Escaped fish compete with wild fish for food and habitat, transmit diseases and prey on and breed with wild fish thus reducing the health of the wild stock.

LOW

DISEASES AND PARASITES

Intensive fish farming has been involved in the introduction and amplification of pathogens and disease in wild fish populations.

LOW

NUTRIENT AND HABITAT IMPACTS

By design untreated waste from open net pen systems are released directly in the surrounding areas of the pens. Waste and uneaten food can build up directly underneath the pens on the ocean floor causing havoc on the natural ecosystem.

LOW

IMPACTS OF PREDATOR POPULATION

The presence of captive fish held in high density attracts several predator species. Techniques to keep these predators at bay can cause net entanglement and drowning.

LOW

DRUGS AND CHEMICALS

Aquaculture relies on the use of several chemicals including antibiotics, hormones, pesticides and anti-foulants. In some cases, the use of antibiotics has resulted in bacterial resistance in the environment and also resistance in humans.

LOW

Our Process

Following is a step-by-step description of the path our fish take from the nursery to the shipping dock:

  1. Every month we send our refrigerated van to JFK to pick up approximately 25,000 juvenile Mediterranean Sea Bass. We bring them directly back to our facility in Waterbury, CT.

  2. Once the fish reach our facility they are then immediately placed into one of four quarantine/nursery systems. Each quarantine / nursery system of our facility is completely isolated and self-contained with dedicated pumps, filtration and HVAC systems. Rigorous Bio-Security protocols are adhered to during this phase. The idea here is to ensure that the juvenile fish are 100% healthy before being moved to the grow out tanks. The fish will stay in the quarantine / nursery area for approximately 4 months.

  3. After 4-months the fish are then moved into a large grow-out tank. Here they remain for 10-12 months while they grow to harvest size – approximately 550 grams, or a little over a pound. We create a constant current in the tanks to mimic the wild, allow the fish to exercise and to insure the fish are as happy and stress free as possible. Oxygen levels of the water are closely monitored 24/7 and oxygen is automatically introduced when necessary to insure the perfect amount is present to promote the growth of a healthy fish.

  4. After the fish have been in the grow-out tanks they are moved, in weekly harvest amounts, to the purge tanks where they remain for up to 5 days. During this time the fish are taken off feed and allowed to discharge their bowels.

  5. The fish are then harvested by net and are placed in an “ice slurry” which consists of 33% ice water, 33% ice shavings and 33% ice cubes. This is a very humane way of dispatching the fish as they essentially just go to sleep.

  6. The fish are then gill tagged and packed in 20lb boxes, loaded onto our refrigerated truck and delivered to some of the best restaurants and retail stores on the East Coast. All within 24 hours of harvest.

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