The development of first a two-stage, and then a three-stage, on-land IMTA farm started as an R&D project at the Israeli National Center for Mariculture in Eilat in the late 1980s to mid-1990s. Once the integration of the cultivation of the fish, seaweed, and abalone was demonstrated, and the basic design criteria experimentally defined, the commercial farm, SeaOr Marine Enterprises Ltd., was designed and constructed by private investors (with financial support from the Israeli government and the European Commission), about 0.5 km from the
Mediterranean Sea coast, at Mikhmoret, 35 km north of Tel Aviv (Figure 10). The first phase of the farm began in early 2001. It has been growing steadily and improving its operation protocols to become a modern versatile intensive IMTA farm; the technology is generic and modular, adaptable to several fish/shrimp, shellfish, and seaweed culture combinations at any level of intensification. The farm recently changed ownership and was renamed Sakura, Products from Nature.
Seawater is pumped from a deep well, next to the sea, into a header tank; it then drains into the abalone (Haliotis discus hannai) tanks and from there into the fishponds (gilthead seabream, Sparus aurata), sedimentation ponds, seaweed ponds (Ulva sp. and Gracilaria sp.) and, finally, into the sump. From there, the seawater can be recycled or released into a nearby estuary, as it meets all environmental regulations for point-source discharge. The algal biofilters efficiently extract from the fishpond effluents dissolved nutrients, CO2, and BOD, and recharge the effluents with dissolved oxygen. The nutritious algae produced are marketed, or fed to the algivores, abalone in this particular case. The farm has sold its products in the local market; however, its main market will be Japan.
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