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Recirculation Technology to Boost Flavours

SCOTLAND, UK - Pisces Engineering Ltd have recently been awarded a prestigious SMART award from the Scottish Government to further the development of a patented recirculation technology that aims to resolve the issue of muddy flavours and taints in fish reared in recirculated aquaculture systems.

The company has been focusing on recirculation technologies and in particular the flavour issues for the last six years and is now in the final stages of testing and development. In natural waters, off flavours that impart a muddy or earthy taint are typically a result of chemicals produced by blue-green algae but in a recirculation system, the same chemicals are also released by certain species of bacteria that colonise both the water and system surfaces.

The industry has had a tendency of shying away from mentioning the taint issue, but there are many cases where expensive recirculation systems have been built and the farms have subsequently failed, due to a lack of consistency in flavour. This has manifested itself by either resulting in a lower than budgeted market value and/or reduced sales volumes.

“The modern consumer is intelligent and clued up enough to know what good fish tastes like and will not accept a poor quality substitute” says Bob Bawden, managing director of Pisces Engineering “There is an urgent requirement for the ability to supply a high quality, consistent product from recirculation systems, which is comparable to the wild alternative, if such systems are going to provide an effective solution to the global fish shortage. We believe that we have a solution to these issues and are very excited about the global potential for it”.

Rather continuing down the route of using difficult to control and potentially hazardous oxidizing or other agents to destroy the taint forming compounds once they are in the water, the Pisces Engineering technicians took several steps back and re-analyzed the whole approach to recirculation technology, with a primary aim of preventing the compounds being produced in the system in the first place. A set of other criteria including stock welfare, ease of management, energy efficiencies and environmental impacts were also used to assess potential solutions.

The result has been a radical redesign and rethink which, as well as achieving the goal of eliminating the taint forming compounds has a number of other, very positive welfare and management spin offs over more conventional recirculated aquaculture systems. Pisces Engineering Ltd will be using the SMART award to build a semi-commercial pilot scale system to prove the feasibility and viability of the process.

the Fish Site Editor

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