Improving the economic sustainability of Northeast aquaculture using a wastes-to-resources approach via integrated farming models

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Todd Guerdat, Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems, UNH (603.862.0135; todd.guerdat@unh.edu)
Shadi Attalah, Natural Resources and the Environment, UNH (603.862.3233; shadi.attalah@unh.edu)
Ryan Dickson, UNH Cooperative Extension and Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems, UNH (603.862.2520; ryan.dickson@unh.edu)
Peter Konjoian, Konjoian's Floriculture Education Services (peterkfes@comcast.net)

The decline in Northeast groundfish landings is forcing New Hampshire fishermen to develop new opportunities to remain economically sustainable. At the same time, the Northeast is struggling to meet the steadily-increasing consumer demand for locally produced seafood. Aquaculture is a proven means for producing seafood year-round; over half of the world’s seafood comes from aquaculture sources. To address the needs for future and existing US aquaculture producers, practical research is needed to develop scalable and economically sustainable opportunities which are relevant to industry.

This research will be conducted at the farm scale to develop a series of integration strategies for improving the economic sustainability of US aquaculture in the Northeast. Integrating recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) with hydroponic plant production will improve energy and resource utilization and increase the return on investment for costly treatment processes. However, the integration of fish and plant production must go beyond the conventional plant-biased production model. Developing a more balanced economic approach for the production of fish requires an analysis of integration strategies for RAS waste utilization in different production settings in the Northeast (intensive RAS, urban aquaculture, etc.). This research will enable new and existing Northeast aquaculture producers to increase locally-grown fish by diversifying production and monetizing fish waste nutrients.