New course to improve RAS husbandry
A NEW course in water quality awareness has been launched by the NAFC Marine Centre, aimed at aquaculture staff involved in operating recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS).
The RAS Water Quality Awareness course is the latest addition to the portfolio of specialist aquaculture training courses run by NAFC, based in Shetland and part of the University of the Highlands and Islands.
It provides an introduction to the fundamentals of monitoring and maintaining water quality and fish health in recirculating aquaculture systems.
Course co-ordinator Stuart Fitzsimmons explained that in recirculating aquaculture systems treated water is recirculated through the tanks holding fish, rather than the tanks being supplied with a constant flow of new water with the old being discharged.
‘The advantage of recirculating systems is that they need much less fresh water than traditional flow-through systems, but it is essential that the quality of the water is monitored and maintained.
‘That includes filtering and treating the water to remove waste material and chemicals, and to maintain the optimum environmental conditions for fish growth.’
The course is the latest to be developed by the NAFC Marine Centre in response to requests from the industry, to provide specialist training for their staff. An online fish welfare course has attracted more than 100 students since it was launched in January by NAFC. The course meets the training requirements of the RSPCA’s Freedom Foods standard for farmed salmon and trout, and the syllabus covers a wide range of welfare issues, including live fish transfer, harvesting and production.
The online version of the course was developed in response to requests from wellboat operators, whose staff found it difficult to attend normal college classes on fixed dates.
NAFC also offers an Introduction to Fish Farm Containment course online, and plans to extend its range of online training courses.
Above: NAFC Marine Centre