Hollie Matthews (Master's student)

Master's Student in Geography (Completed January 2017)

My master’s research identified the economic and environmental feasibility of implementing aquaponic and biofloc aquaculture systems in Canada and the readiness of aquaculture facilities to implement these systems. Both aquaponic and biofloc systems have the potential to increase the environmental sustainability of aquaculture practices through recovering and re-using nutrients in the system in addition to decreasing water required for aquaculture production. The benefit of reducing nutrients levels in the water allows for the water to be recycled back into the system, minimizing the environmental impact of wastewater effluent and decreasing the amount of water extracted from natural systems. Biofloc systems use the growth of micro-organisms to remove nutrients from excess feed and fish excreta in the water. These micro-organisms can also be used to supplement feed for fish and crustaceans. Aquaponics on the other hand combine the production of fish and plants where plants utilize nutrients released from fish waste. Aquaponic systems can also produce high value crops to niche markets year round. Aquaculture and biofloc systems are currently used in other countries, but not extensively in Canada. Therefore my research aims to identify the feasibility of increasing aquaculture production in a sustainable way in Canada through the implementation of biofloc and aquaponic systems. My research involved interviews with Canadian government officials, aquaculture associations, aquaponic and biofloc experts and aquaculture facility owners. The interviews  identified barriers and incentives to implementing aquaponic and biofloc systems in Canada, what species can be produced in these systems in Canada, whether biofloc and aquaponic systems can be implemented in current facilities in Canada or if new facilities are required, the potential financial incentives for implementing these systems, the current nutrient management methods of aquaculture facilities and nutrient management regulations, as well as any regulations that may impact biofloc and aquaponic systems.



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