What kind of structure can endure 30-foot waves? How do you feed fish in an offshore cage when a Nor’easter is raging? How can you monitor the environmental conditions surrounding your farm?
Answers to questions like these are worked out at the center’s demonstration site, located six miles from the New Hampshire shore and suspended in 180 feet of water. There, potential solutions to the challenges of offshore finfish culture are put to the ultimate test—the extreme weather and waves of the Gulf of Maine.
Before structure is installed offshore, it undergoes rigorous analysis involving computer and scale model testing. Much of this work is done at UNH’s Jere Chase Ocean Engineering Laboratory, where a team of UNH engineering faculty and technicians develop the tools needed to drive sustainable offshore aquaculture operations.
Once a structure has been vetted by proper analysis, its stability and effectiveness is tested at the offshore site. The operations team provides valuable field data about its performance that is used to modify the design, or lay the groundwork for “next generation” technology.