Overview of the site selection process
This page briefly discusses some important factors that must be considered when selecting a site and designing a commercial scale land based Recirculation Aquaculture System (RAS) production facility.
When assessing a site for land based aquaculture we need to consider factors such as access to water, soil type and stability, topography and climate, proximity to markets, and the specific requirements of the species to be produced. Areas prone to flooding should be avoided. Sites near sensitive areas like parks, waterways, housing developments etc. need certain approvals, especially if the discharge of farm process water (containing nutrients) is required.
Certain designs at some sites should have room for settlement ponds and holding dams so water can be reused for other agriculture activities such as crop irrigation. Any special considerations are assessed on a site by basis during the first stages of the site assessment and feasibility planning program.
The critical economic issue for a fish farmer is to effectively control the operating and capital costs of their aquaculture enterprises. Low margins (high operating costs relative to revenues) and high capital costs can severely squeeze the returns an individual fish operation might produce. This makes it important to properly locate and design a farm in a manner that offers the highest level of control in operating costs and capital costs.
Location selection (site assessment) is the very first step and a critical one, to constructing and operating an economically viable aquaculture business. An IRAFS designed farm considers all the available resources of a proposed site, it’s geographical location, the species being farmed, scope and scale of production desired, equipment required and numerous other factors. Our process involves both technical and economic assessment in every step of the work, leading to the selection of an overall design that has the best opportunity for economic viability.
Another important requirement of modern contained aquaculture farms is environmental protection. To design a facility that is sustainable in its operation is another important goal. To best achieve this goal, we must start the process in the very beginning of the site assessment work. Therefore consideration is always given to identifying and mitigating any potential impact that the operation may have on the immediate environment in which it is to be located.