Development and implementation of an innovative cleaning technology for marine and freshwater larval hatchery tanks in recirculating aquaculture systems

7th EU Framework Programme
Funding Scheme: Research for the benefit of SME
7th EU framework programme
Project Duration: 01.09.2010 - 31.08.2012
Project Manager: Alexandra Oberdieck

CLEANHATCH is a two-year research project co-funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme. The consortium is comprised of five partners located throughout Europe, with ttz Bremerhaven (Germany) and the Research Institute for Fisheries, Aquaculture and Irrigation (Hungary) heading the research, and AquaBioTech Limited (Malta), Storvik Aqua AS (Norway) and Viking Fish Farms (Great Britain) participating as the SME’s for this project. The goal of the project is to develop, test, and implement an innovative cleaning technology for fish hatcheries tanks.

Background: Water quality challenges in aquaculture

Over the past four decades the aquaculture sector has maintained sustainable growth and is now considered to be a significant part of the EU economy.  During this same time the aquaculture industry has expanded on a global scale with an average growth rate of 7 %.

The rapid development of aquaculture requires large-scale production from hatcheries. The fish are raised from eggs through to the early juvenile stages, until their size is suitable for transfer to a grow-out facility. In so-called recirculating aquaculture systems large amounts of fish can be reared using only a small amount of water that is continually filtered and recycled through various technical and biotechnological devices.

However, as the fish density increases so does the risk of reduced water quality. Bacterial biofilms constantly develop on all surfaces in the tanks and endanger the production and quality of fry. Due to these reasons and others the mortality rates during the larval phase are still much higher than in any other phase of the fish cultivation process. The current methods and technologies used, like manual cleaning or siphoning, do not meet the high demands of the larval hatchery industry, especially as larval fish are extremely sensitive to the high disturbance caused by these methods.

Goal: New cleaning technology for larval hatchery tanks

Thus, within the CLEANHATCH project, a technology is being developed that will address these challenges in order to achieve an economically and ecologically sustainable larvae production. By providing applications that do not presently exist in the market, the project will bring the participating three SMEs to the forefront of the hatchery technology market.