The demonstration siteís mooring grid is configured to accommodate four cages, giving us the capacity to farm several species at a time, or test new cage designs.
Currently, the grid is equipped with two Sea Station cages. Manufactured by OceanSpar, located in Bainbridge, Washington, the Sea Station was the first, fully submersible, commercially available cage. We have used these cages as containment systems to successfully raise experimental crops of flounder, cod, halibut, and haddock.
Watch a model of the Sea Station undergo a wave test back at the lab
We recently tested a prototype cage developed by JPS Industries, Inc., and UNH engineers at the site. Right now itís back in the lab for analysis. The JPS cage was developed through a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationís Small Business Innovation Research Program. The goal is to provide an inexpensive, submersible fish cage with the ability to be easily raised and lowered to facilitate harvest and maintenance.
We are working with the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) on a new approach to open ocean containment system out of China. Using the low volume-high density concept for finfish farming, the USSEC developed the Ocean Cage Aquaculture Technology (OCAT), a small-scale, self submerging cage that can be tended from a small boat without divers or high tech equipment.
Our engineers helped to redesign the OCATís mooring to improve submergence during typhoons and are now developing an automated, complementary feeding system. Plans are in the works to construct and test a cage at the UNH offshore site and to explore the feasibility of part time fish farming for local New England fishermen.
For six months, the projectsí submerged grid system hosted a prototype of the Aquapod, a cage developed by Ocean Farm Technologies, Inc. from Searsmont, Maine. The Aquapod is a modular geodesic sphere, and is now available commercially. A full scale version of the Aquapod has been installed at Snapperfarmís offshore site in Puerto Rico and stocked with cobia.