The $40 million dollar infrastructure investment at the company’s Big Tree Creek and Dalrymple facilities has now begun, and will continue through 2016.
The new land-based tank systems for raising parr and smolts (juvenile salmon prior to seawater entry) represent a significant investment in hatchery infrastructure, and will enable the company to increase production while also improving environmental performance. Recirculation uses about one-hundredth of the freshwater as a traditional flow-through aquaculture system.
Marine Harvest Canada (MHC) has been using and developing recirculating aquaculture systems since the late 1990s and has pioneering knowledge of system design and operation. The new systems will improve upon recirculating aquaculture technology currently being used for first feeders at Dalrymple.
The existing system was designed and built in-house, incorporating technology from InterAqua and Pentair for bio-filter and drum-filter components. MHC’s Freshwater Production Director, Dean Guest, says it is “the company’s most efficient system to date” with 15 million fry fed in the first 18 months of operation.
“It was surprising that a simple system that was inexpensive to build uses less energy than competing systems. We designed the system to be very simple and compact and the only automation is the oxygen system and the drum filter,” Dean says.
“I would be shocked if I saw anything better. Performance has met or exceeded our expectations. The engineering design is unique because water flows throughout the system without the many pipes and valves required in older models. The full flow passes through each process of the treatment system with no side stream components or use of piping.”
MHC will build two first feed systems and five smolt systems, for a total of 9000 cubic metres of rearing space. When construction is completed, both facilities will be amongst the largest producers of salmon smolts in North America.
Local builders and electrical contractors have been engaged to work on the projects. The first stage to be finished will be a six metre system at Dalrymple and it is expected to be ready for fish in early 2016.