Intensification of the Existing Sites

If the possibility for expansion of the existing finfish aquaculture sector is limited in spatial extent by biological, economic, and social factors, the only other solution to the expansion issue is to increase the production from existing sites. This is analogous to the issue that faces human populations in urban areas. The terrestrial solution has been to increase the tridimensional surface area by using buildings with multiple levels. When one considers the seawater volume available at a lease site and the volume of the water column actually occupied by a series of salmon cages, it is obvious that a cultivation unit is not optimized. The area of a lease site also has to accommodate room for the anchoring systems, vessel access, water flow, etc. Advanced technology will thus be a prerequisite for intensification. As with concentrated housing for humans, there will have to be a high degree of surface area for organisms, and efficient systems for food delivery, waste treatment, and energy supply. Consequently, intensification will require: (1) innovative and environmentally friendly technologies, (2) new and better management practices and codes, and (3) recognizing aquaculture within a broader integrated coastal management framework.

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