In the last three decades, our seafood consumption has dramatically increased and with this, aquaculture, otherwise known as fish farming, has become widely popular to meet domestic and international demand.
What are some integrated solutions we have offered to the aquaculture sector?
While the possibilities are endless, in Tarago, Australia, Veolia opted to become a fish farmers ourselves.
In 2005, Veolia had a vision for implementing an aquaculture project as part of the wider development of the Woodlawn Eco-precinct; almost a decade later, this vision was realised with Veolia successfully delivering commercial fish farming; providing stock to Australia’s Capital Territory.
Veolia’s Woodlawn Bioreactor, located 250km south-east of Sydney, offers a significant alternative for the resource recovery and disposal of putrescible waste in NSW. The Bioreactor facility extracts green electricity from what was previously waste material, and effectively turns this into biogas.
To complement the Bioreactor facility, in 2009, four years after the Eco-precinct was established, Veolia commenced a trial aquaculture and aquaponics project. The concept was simple – to make the facility as sustainable as possible and take advantage of every opportunity to turn waste into a resource. Excess heat from the generators was available for use, and so it was with this knowledge that Veolia had a vision for using the heat to create optimal water conditions for fish farming.
Over a four year period, staff trialled the farming of silver perch through a custom-made aquarium, that featured a number of adjoining tanks, located adjacent to the generators. This trial also tested the reliability of the heated water supply, supplemented from gas produced by waste at the Woodlawn Bioreactor.
Expertly designed, using local best-practice aquaculture technology, the trial was successful, and thus commercially viable. As such, in 2014 Veolia commenced supply of Barramundi to the closely- located Canberra market.
Why was barramundi chosen for Veolia’s aquaculture efforts?
Barramundi was ultimately selected as the preferred fish to be farmed, given it requires the water temperature in its environment to be at least 28°C, a factor which could easily be facilitated by the secondary heat generated from the Bioreactor’s engines. Given the tropical climate Barramundi is generally farmed in, this product has proved highly popular within the Canberra market as suppliers previously sourced interstate to cope with local demand. At present, the facility can produce approximately 2.5 tonnes of Barramundi per annum.