World Aquaculture Society Meetings

GOOD AQUACULTURE PRACTICES (GAqPs) FOR RECIRCULATING AQUACULTURE SYSTEMS

Michael H. Schwarz*, David Kuhn, David Crosby, Chris Mullins, and Brian Nerrie.
 Virginia Tech - VSAREC
 102 South King Street
 Hampton Virginia 23669
 mschwarz@vt.edu

      

Good Aquaculture Practices (GAqPs) are activities, procedures, or considerations optimizing production systems and management protocols to maximize environmental and economic sustainability, final product quality and safety, animal health and worker safety, while concurrently minimizing the likelihood of a disease outbreak. GAqP considerations generic to all aquaculture production systems include considerations for:  Regulatory and non-regulatory compliance, facility siting and design, source water, facility security, animal health, feed management, record keeping and employee training.

Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS) are aquaculture systems which recycle greater than 90% of the system volume on a daily basis. Some RAS-specific GAqPs include tank shape and water flow orientation so tanks act as primary solids collection devices. Furthermore, tank water exchange rates with filtration systems should be 100 to 200%/hour, with 10% of this volume coming from solids collection in the tank direct to solids filter, and 90% of tank flow going from the tank direct to the biofilter, and back to the tank. Makeup water should 1st go through disinfection, and be introduced via the biofilter or sump. Systems should be maintained in proper working condition, and never be stocked at densities beyond design specifications. As RAS are intensive in nature, extra biosecurity considerations should be implemented above standard protocols. These may include sterilization of all incoming water, entry and exit disinfection foot bath and hand washes, restriction of unauthorized personnel, purchase of only Specific Pathogen Free animals for restocking, and careful monitoring of all water quality parameters multiple times a day, or continuously via automation.

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