Cawthron is working with the aquaculture industry to investigate and develop new and improved fish farming systems, such as land-based and open ocean aquaculture.
Land-based aquaculture (LBA) systems provide an alternative to inshore waters, and enable increased production of a whole range of species through improved control over growing conditions, feeding and biosecurity.
We have developed a GIS-based site selection tool (LBASS) to identify the best sites for land-based aquaculture in New Zealand.
Rather than evaluating a limited shortlist of identified sites, users of LBASS can search across an entire region for previously unidentified sties that meet the criteria, derived from the specific needs of an LBA proposal.
Open ocean aquaculture
Open ocean aquaculture will enable companies to avoid the user pressures associated with inshore farming and grow their business in selected areas within an abundant exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Cawthron has been researching open ocean aquaculture since 2003, working on sites off the Hawke's Bay and Bay of Plenty coasts.
Cawthron has developed models that can help determine the suitability of sites for open ocean aquaculture – considering factors such as wind and hydrodynamics; food quality and quantity; and economic feasibility.
This means Cawthron can design and/or test structural systems before they go into the water; test structural designs with varying flotation types and size; and test mooring systems and crop. The structure can be subjected to waves of any size and duration from any direction, and can take into account water currents and the effects of harvesting vessels on the movement, stress and dropper reaction on the structure.
Feasibility analysis for new ventures
Feasibility analysis provides a starting point for understanding the economic viability of a new venture. Bio-economic models attempt to capture the major inputs and outputs of an operation, incorporating both biological and financial parameters.
Cawthron has developed bio-economic models for a variety of new aquaculture ventures; from a land-based system to an open ocean farm. Our economic models incorporate sensitivity analysis using @Risk™ software, enabling the most important drivers of economic performance to be identified.
A feasibility analysis by Cawthron can provide the confidence to take the next step in a potential aquaculture venture. Sensitivity results also highlight where improvement in the operation is most required, and where more information is needed.