World Aquaculture Society Meetings

Good Aquaculture Practices (GAqPs) for Aquaponics

Chris Mullins*, David Crosby, David Kuhn, Brian Nerrie, and Michael Schwarz
Virginia State University
PO Box 9081
Petersburg Virginia, 23803  


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. Aquaponics is the integration of a hydroponic plant production system with a recirculating aquaculture system.  A hydroponic system (closed or open) involves growing plants without soil i.e. in only nutrient solution or in some type of artificial media.  A recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) most often is the production of fish in a closed system where water quality is maintained through a filter system.  Independently, hydroponic systems and RAS can be productive and commercially viable.  However, the integration of the two systems requires more extensive management intensity with selection and management of the fish and plant crops critical.  Proper design of the system components including: fish tanks, plant production unit, mechanical filtration, biochemical filtration, greenhouse and water movement system is integral to the success of the enterprise.

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