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Pilot project for rearing fish in land based seawater ponds

The National Center for Mariculture (NCM) is carrying out a pilot project in which fish are reared in seawater ponds to check the economic and environmental feasibility of growing marine fish in a land based installation. Success of this project will allow the development of profitable large scale mariculture in Israel, especially in the Southern Arava region. Novel technology being applied in this project includes biological purification of the pond effluent, part of which is recycled in the growing system and the reminder returned to the sea without damage to the environment. Within the framework of the project, a pilot plant is being constructed at the NCM on a semi-commercial scale (100 tons fish production/yr). Construction is financed by the Ministry of Agriculture and the ICA Foundation in Israel. The project will be operated in cooperation with Ardag Ltd.

The pilot plant is a recycling grow-out system based on a low-head principle developed at NCM. A novel system of oxygen supply for the fish, Mega-Flow, developed by KORA (1980) Ltd. together with NCM, will be incorporated in the pilot plant. This system was evaluated over two years at NCM and at a coastal power plant in northern Israel. Based on the results at these two sites, it seems that this system can significantly reduce production costs.

The pilot plant contains two pond systems built inside a greenhouse. The main growing system has 12 ponds for the fish to develop to market size. The second system is for grading and holding young fish before they are stocked into the grow-out ponds. The second system is completely separated from the main growing system and acts as a quarantine to prevent the spread of diseases that may arrive with new fish. Each of the two systems has a separate set of recycling and water treatment installations. These include solid filtration and nitrogen removal in sequential nitrification and denitrification processes that transform the dissolved nitrogen compounds into atmospheric nitrogen (N2) ensuring an environmentally friendly system. ..

The pilot plant will be operated through a number of growing cycles during which the economic viability of the technology will be demonstrated to potential commercial growers.

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