Catastrophic events are the Number 1 Killer of well-intentioned, unprepared, medium–high intensity fish farms. Losses encountered can often lead to complete business failure. Unmitigated or poorly-timed interventions during periods of unexpected electrical power outages are the Number 1 catastrophic event.
Any farm that aerates or moves water can be at risk. The greater the fish density, the greater the risk. While this applies to both indoor RAS and outdoor “RAS within a pond”, outdoor farms tend to have more intervention opportunities.
How can this risk be eliminated or reduced? A good back-up system is NOT enough, unless you have a hobby farm and can afford to lose your crop.
Good “crop security” mandates REDUNDANT BACK-UP SYSTEMS. Power outage warning systems with text and voice auto-dialers, etc, are fine, but “Power On” does not equate to “O2 On”. While power outage warnings are good and can help provide early warnings, they do not monitor against blower failures, manifold leaks, or numerous other system failures. Therefore, O2 monitoring is also strongly encouraged.
Blower failure can be off-set somewhat via multiple blowers connected to a common manifold with possible solenoid-activated start-ups, valves, or discharge sharing.
Good prevention starts with solid planning, which may start small and with minimal investment, but then grows more robust as the value of the crop increases.
Because “aquaculture is now agriculture” under federal and most state laws, crop insurance is always worth investigating.
“Eyes-on” may not be the most favorite tool in the tool box, especially in this age of automation, but it should not be under-rated. While live-feed video and water quality data can be available 24/7, on a world-wide basis via satellite, there is no substitution for motivated, human observation. When there is doubt, it’s great to have someone living close to the farm, especially for temporary interventions, such as starting a “self-starting” generator.
Fish farmers using or interested in “In-Pond Raceway Systems (IPRS’s)” are invited to contact Superior Aquaculture for additional, sometime innovative suggestions for “Backing-up Your Back-ups”.