Zero Waste is a global movement that aims to stop generating waste or reduce it as much as possible. But beyond a social movement, it is also a concern and one of the main objectives of organizations like the FAO. FAO is particularly sensitive to food loss and waste. Food losses are defined as “the decrease in the quantity or quality of food”. Agricultural or fishery products intended for human consumption that are not ultimately consumed or that lose quality, nutritional value, economic value, or food safety. At Dibaq and Grupo Tejedor Lázaro (GTL) we are also committed to reducing waste and we believe that RAS (recirculating aquaculture systems) aquaculture farms can contribute to meeting the objective.
The implementation of RAS aquaculture systems facilitates the rationalization of aquaculture production making it more easily manageable and predictable, so that the product can be delivered to the market based on demand. In this way, massive productions dependent on weather conditions that saturate the market with overproduction that cannot always be absorbed by consumers and may end up wasted, are avoided.
When studying and designing the production farms, a holistic vision is used, which includes the location of the facilities, assessing the distance from suppliers and the market to minimize the CO2 footprint derived from transport. Regarding the design, it should be noted that the RAS farms designed by Derwent Engineering (also part of GTL) are projected from the point of view of sustainability and the circular economy since we managed to minimize the use of water due to the filtering (mechanical, biological and UV) that allow us to reuse up to 95% of water and with a subsequent treatment of effluents. The water consumption of the closed circuit only occurs by evaporation, and this is the only quantity that must be replaced in the process. At Dibaq we have diets specially formulated for RAS systems that facilitate the maintenance of the system in perfect condition due to its high assimilation by the fish and less degradation in the water, reducing waste.
The aquaculture sector is presented as one of those exceptional cases in which sustainability is directly linked to greater economic profitability. Since, even if a producer does not care about the environment, the main cost is the feed, and for carnivorous species, specifically, ingredients such as oil or fishmeal and, currently, the industry is really interested in reducing their use in aquaculture feed. At Dibaq we have specially formulated diets for RAS systems that reduce this waste generation, at the same time, the aquaculture feed industry is constantly researching to incorporate by-products from other primary industries in their formulations to help reduce waste.
Therefore, minimizing the release of nutrients into the environment is not only a necessity, but a common good practice associated with RAS systems and aquaculture in general. In addition to this, RAS systems allow efficient treatment of effluents and waste, reducing the impact of the activity on the environment.