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Aquaculture technology

Aquaculture technology includes the tools, methods and innovations used in the farming and husbandry of aquatic organisms like fish, shellfish, and seaweed. 

What is aquaculture technology?

Aquaculture involves the farming and husbandry of fish and other marine organisms, as well as the growth and harvesting of aquatic plants like seaweed. The technology used to do this includes systems for water quality management, automated feeding, disease control and breeding, as well as advancements like recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA), and genetic improvements.  

These technologies aim to increase production efficiency, sustainability, and the health of the farmed species while minimising the environmental impact. 

Why aquaculture is a fast-growing sector

Rising global demand for seafood due to population growth and dietary shifts, as well as the decline of wild fish stocks due to overfishing, has seen aquaculture emerge as a sustainable solution. As a result, the aquaculture industry is experiencing rapid growth.  
Technological advancements have played a key role in aquaculture’s progress. Over the past 50 years, systems and technology have evolved from simple family ponds to sophisticated closed systems. Industry innovations have improved the growth and survival rates of farmed fish by enhancing factors like food quality, oxygen levels, and protection from predators. 
Aquaculture practices are also heavily focussed on environmental sustainability and creating economic opportunities by reducing waste, minimising human impact on ecosystems and creating jobs. Aquaculture’s ability to produce seafood sustainably and at scale also makes it an appealing solution to meet growing global food demands. 

Five aquaculture farming innovations you should know

From sustainable practices to cutting-edge technologies, Australia's aquaculture sector is brimming with opportunities, poised to change the way we produce and consume seafood.  
Here are five innovations in aquaculture farming technology you should know about:  
1. Nanobubble technology
Nanobubble technology involves producing ultrafine bubbles which remain suspended in water for extended periods. These bubbles have unique properties, such as being neutrally buoyant and negatively charged.  
To date, the use of nanobubble technology in aquaculture systems has been largely unexplored. This is being addressed by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC), undertaking a research project to assess the effectiveness of nanobubble technology in improving oxygen delivery and water treatment in aquaculture systems.  
2. Next generation sequencing  
Next generation sequencing (NGS) is an advanced genomic technology used to speedily sequence and analyse DNA. This FRDC research project aims to use NGS, in the form of the ‘MinION hand-held DNA sequencer,’ for rapid disease diagnostics in aquaculture.  
By evaluating and partially validating this technology, the research hopes to improve disease management efficiency by providing real-time data analysis during pathogen detection. 
3. Electro-stunning technology  
Electro-stunning technology involves using controlled electrical currents to render fish unconscious before harvest to improve animal welfare and the final product quality. This FRDC research project evaluated electro-stunning's potential for farmed barramundi by reviewing available information and assessing stakeholder attitudes. The project considered specifications, technology uptake in aquaculture, adaptation into harvest processes, and potential partnerships for future research and development. 
4. Recirculating aquaculture system  
EcoSystem Farms have developed a soilless farming platform that integrates plants and fish in a closed loop, recirculating system where the fish provide the nutrients for the plants and the plants clean the water for the fish. Their unique setup uses remote monitoring and automated controls that enables mass adoption without users requiring a background in aquaculture.  
5. Vertical aquaculture  
Vertical aquaculture involves the farming of aquatic organisms in vertically stacked layers, typically in a controlled environment. Aquatic AI is using this concept by developing a modular and automated vertical aquaculture system that aims to provide a large-scale and reliable supply of seafood. By optimising growth conditions through data-driven automation they hope to efficiently scale the growth and production of marron, a type of freshwater crayfish.

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