The ECOFEED is an open water aquaculture feed system characterized to use floating feed, feeding the fish from the bottom to surface, through pipes that will inject the feed.
The positive buoyancy can easily be obtained by feed suppliers by injecting more air into the feed manufacturing process, reducing its density compared to seawater and therefore, increase its buoyancy. This will enable that the pellet rises slowly from a depth of approximately 8 meters, from where the feed is supplied, through an automatic system of pipes.
This system reduces completely the negative effect of excess feed on the seabed, significantly minimizing environmental impact. From an industrial aspect this method will allow to recognize when fish has stop feeding and therefore manage much more accurately the food given (feed is currently more than 70% of the fish´s production cost).
Moreover, this feeding method will reduce stress in the fish since the “natural” location for most fish to eat is inside the sea column and not at the surface (where they are forced to eat with the current sinking feed). At the surface is where most predators (birds) usually hunt them and fish will only eat there when very hungry. This possible side effect of the ECOFEED will further reduce stress and improve production results. This less stress-eating environment will also help to reduce competitions for feed and probably will also help to reduce dispersion of a batch.
The ECOFEED System has the following specific objectives:
- Validate the ECOFEED technology and aid its penetration in the EU market
- Reduce the ecological footprint of the organic waste (pellet) from aquaculture offshore
- Contribute to production cost reduction by optimizing feed supply
- Develop new lines of work-related sectors (aquaculture feed producers, aquaculture companies, environmental consulting, management, etc.)
- Transform the aquaculture offshore into a more sustainable business (green business)
Six Work Programs have been planned to get this objectives, plus the WP Management (WP1), Business Plan and Exploitation (WP5) and Common Dissemination activities (WP6), carry out a set up demonstration activity in a organic fish farm in Canary Islands (WP2), a Analysis of the benefits (environmental, economic and life cycle of products) to implement this technology (WP3) and the replication of the action (WP4).
Major outputs and results (including main result indicators):
- Reduce the ecological impact of aquaculture offshore, transforming into a more sustainable environmentally business.
- Improve company efficiency by reducing feed needs, currently the main cost.
- Reduce stress of cultivated fish by letting them eat inside the water column.
- Improve production result by means of a better environment conditions and therefore less diseases.
- Help to generate a more even size batch.