The profitability factors in crustacean farming
Which aspects influence the technology choice and above all the profitability of crustacean farming in general and especially for such species as shrimps, prawns and lobsters
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The briefest ever introduction into the intensive crustacean farming
Important note: aquaculture is really complex and has a wide variety of technological solutions
Based on the intensity of human intervention we can distinguish the intensive aquaculture to indicate those farms where animals are directly fed by humans (so the therm intensive is not linked to the concentration of biomass in the basins)
Intensive aquaculture is practiced both on land and in the sea, and is the prevalent form of aquaculture in Italy (Source: https://pofeamp.politicheagricole.it/ ), especially as land-based systems in small artificial basins
Then we can classify intensive farming on land into 3 types based on water reuse factor: with flow-through water using a single transit, partial water recirculating systems (both are often also ponds type, those that exploit conditions of the natural environment) and recirculating systems, which use an advanced technologies for the food distribution and the removal of waste substances.
Why the crustacean farming is always on land?
The commercially important crustaceans mostly belong to the decapods group: they are mostly carnivorous and live among the rocks of the coasts, on sandy or muddy bottoms, from a few centimeters to several hundred meters deep and often – unlike fish – do not eat in mid-water, but collect nutrients from the sea bottom.
This is the reason of the on land type as the only solution for crustacean farming, as it is not possible – based on profits study and behavioral aspects of the species – to imagine their farming directly in the sea.
RAS in the only profitable for the European crustacean farming
Another important factor for the technological solution when we are talking about shrimps farming in Europe is the temperature – the tropical shrimps requires temperatures around 28° to achieve their best growth rates.
Even in the Mediterranean climatic conditions with the pond farming it is possible to reach the optimal temperatures only for two months a year, that’ss why the farmer is forced to apply a recirculation technology (called also RAS from Recirculating Aquaculture System) to achieve an economical heating during the year, so we have to reuse the waters in Europe, so we need to filter them – fortunately also reducing the required quantity – to continuously eliminate harmful substances, but with reasonable costs.
Off-land indoor smart aquaculture farm with an environmental impact similar to floriculture
It is DINAQUA smart aquaculture, i.e. know-how of the farming process including the breeding stage with a specific management model for the secure production that ensures not only the constant control of biomass thanks to the digitized management system with h24 monitoring of the ambience parameters, but also solves the problems related to external biological factors, allowing better growth of the farmed species, very accurate harvest planning, and better earning and economic results
What makes a crustacean farm being smart, therefore profitable
I have always tried to use simple but far-reaching technological solutions in fish and crustacean farming. The important principle for any industry, but especially in farming is to create simple to manage production processes, investing more of course in the technology, but without complicating things. I am the one who is on the “buttons” side, I must be able to manage every cost of my farming proccess.
So at the level of materials I use those to found easily on the local market, with energy optimization and automation where I need to improve an economic result.
For example – the feed distribution is often automated, but I prefer that my make this operation by hand – firstly – for more visual control on the animals health in the circuits, and – secondly – in this way I’m able to favor soft type of feed, which gives me also more flexibility on a management level.
That is really important feature of the smart crustacean farming plant I created, especially when we talk about to the largest costs, one can say capital costs as they in fact define the profitability of any type of aquaculture intensive farm, – the feeding costs, together with labor costs of course. In my plant these costs decrease even more due to the better conversion index. It became possible because the animals are growing in healthy conditions thanks to my continuous filtration system which develops more than one hectare of active filtration surface for each module.
Obviously workers must be trained and managers must be attentive to ensure that the business model works and improves over time. Obviously I have to avoid any negative environmental impact
With DINAQUA I created smart crustaceans farming system n land with an environmental impact similar to floriculture, but with a greater economic result compared to traditional farming techniques.
Dr. Roberto Rabiti
DINAQUA Project Manager, Recirculating Acquaculture Solutions Expert
He has been involved in the construction of aquaculture farms in Italy and in the various countries in the Mediterranean and around the world since 1972. A list of the species for which he had designed and built aquaculture farms includes shrimp, lobster, eel, sea bass, mullet, white bream, perch, pike, tilapia and many others.
In 2003 – 2005 he directed the survey on the current state of fishing and aquaculture sector in Tuscany, where he played a main role in the training course for regional aquaculture technicians as an expert in RAS technics. A few years later he participated in integrated planning for the development of aquaculture in the Sardinia region.
Some countries where he has carried out consultancy at an international and government level: Japan, Philippines, Cuba, Senegal, Santo Domingo, Ghana, Chile, Brazil, Algeria, Tunisia.