Researching the economic feasibility of the mixed-cell raceway, providing a way for small farms to enter the aquaculture industry.

Period of Performance: 09/08/2015 - 12/31/2015

$489K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

RIPPLE ROCK FISH FARMS, LLC
6805 OLD STAGECOACH RD Array
Frazeysburg, OH 43822
Firm POC, Principal Investigator

Abstract

Demand for locally grown, farm-raised fish is rising as the public becomes increasingly aware of the health benefits of eating safe, nutritional seafood. For the past decade or more, aquaculture has been the fastest growing segment of agriculture, providing consumers with a healthy product that is produced utilizing sustainable methods. To meet this increasing demand for locally grown seafood, indoor intensiveRecirculating Aquaculture Systems(RAS) provide a controlled, bio-secure, growing environment and year-round production of safe, high quality, farm raised fish.Currently, indoor aquaculture systems are based primarily on the use of expensive fiberglass tanks. The required high initial capital investment proves to be a significant barrier to entering the market. New, more affordable technology is needed. The overreaching objective of our Phase I research was to bring to commercial viability a well-engineered, robust, low-cost, culture production system that optimizes RAS operating conditions. This new approach is called the mixed-cell raceway.Due to the success of Phase I, and the experience gained during the design and construction of the RAS system, the next logical step is to provide this information/guidance to other small farmers, thus increasing supply while enabling suppliers. Phase II of this project will offer innovative technology through afranchise package, along with manuals, consulting support, collective buying, and product marketing, to those interested in entering the aquaculture industry affordably and with reduced risk. Numerous aquaculture start-up ventures have failed due to a lack of experience and support, as well as high opertaing costs/low profit margins. Afranchisescenario, incorporating the mixed-cell raceway, has the potential to reduce the learning curve and minimize such failures. As a result, the aquaculture industry will be poised to expand nationwide, as small farms capitalize on this emerging market.