FISH FARMING TECHNOLOGY
Light Emitting Diode (LED) Lighting systems for early stage aquaculture Over recent times we have noticed an increasing amount of media coverage and industry chatter regarding the role of light in aquaculture. Most of this has been in relation to the use of low-energy technology to reduce costs, and in this area almost all the talk is about LED.
ight Emitting Diode (LED) technology has proven itself in almost every environment where artificial lighting is deployed, and the various agricultural sectors involved in intensive food production are no exception. Fixture longevity and significant reductions in energy consumption have seen LEDs becoming increasingly common. Less widely publicised, however, is the notion that emerging lighting technology may offer the aquaculture industry more than simply a way to reduce operating costs…. Commercial horticulture has long recognised the critical role of light in influencing product quality and yield. Growers and their suppliers moved quickly to adapt LED technology to deliver the precise spectral and intensity values needed to dramatically improve production outcomes, effectively “doubling up” any cost-reduction benefits that the new technology brought. Now, a UK-based company has developed a lighting system to deliver the same benefits to fish farmers. Tropical Marine Centre (TMC) is best known in aquaculture circles as “TMC Commercial” for their recirculation filtration systems, which are widely used by hatcheries around the world. Over the last seven years, they have also been developing LED lighting systems for aquatic applications, and extensive research and multiple trials have led to the launch of a new commercial lighting brand - BioLumen Lighting Solutions. We spoke to Gyles Westcott, part of the lighting development team at TMC, to get more information about the range. “Hatchery managers have always known that light is important – indeed, photoperiod and light intensity are part of every production protocol. “However, light is more than just two basic variables! In fact, for some time now, biologists have understood that the very specific photic conditions of the aquatic environment are active, biological drivers, particularly in the early-stages of development. “To complicate matters further, these photic drivers are highly variable across different species, across the different life-stages of those different species, and across the diverse range of biotopes that they might occupy as they develop. “So, the conditions under which salmon eggs incubate are vastly different to the conditions under which, for example, Sea Bass eggs incubate. All of this is quite obvious, yet fish farmers have never had a fully developed system allowing light conditions to track the changing requirements of the chosen culture species. The reason for this is that previously, there has never been an economically viable technological solution to delivering such a complex photic solution. 46 | January | February 2016 - International Aquafeed