In 2018, 15kg of fish was consumed per capita. About nine percent (or 4,600 tonnes) of these were produced locally; the others were imported from all over the world.
Singapore is looking for innovative ways to grow more food ourselves, increase agricultural productivity, and reduce our reliance on imports. The aim is to achieve “30 by 30”, which is to produce 30 percent of Singapore's nutritional needs by 2030.
However, in terms of aquaculture production, current conditions could limit the potential for local productivity.
Singapore’s coastal aquaculture farms currently employ open net cage farming systems that make them vulnerable to environmental threats. In 2014 and 2015, several such fish farms were affected by plankton blooms, which caused fish deaths and heavy economic losses. Other unanticipated incidents, such as oil spills and waste discharge, add to the adverse conditions for aquaculture.
Furthermore, with climate change leading to warmer waters, there might also be more incidences of fish diseases and mortality due to stress and increased levels of pathogens.
This is why SFA encourages local farms to adopt sustainable technologies such as closed containment systems, which will help them be more resilient against the effects of climate change. In a closed containment aquaculture system, fishes are cultured in a controlled environment that isolates and protects them from external aquatic factors.
In adopting such systems, farmers can tap into SFA’s $63 million Agriculture Productivity Fund (APF), or use it for R&D and test-bedding of technologies.
The Eco-Ark is an example of an innovative farming solution using the closed containment aquaculture system. Developed by one of APF’s recipients, Aquaculture Centre of Excellence Pte Ltd (ACE), Eco-Ark is a purpose-built, floating, closed containment aquaculture system that is being piloted off the shores of Pulau Ubin now.
Eco-Ark is a purpose-built, floating, closed containment aquaculture system that covers about 1,400 square metre sea-space. It requires only two workers, and could produce 166 tonnes of fish annually.
As a closed containment system, Eco-Ark keeps fishes in tanks that are isolated from the external environment, where variations in temperature and oxygen can be controlled.
It also combines offshore & marine technology with a recirculating aquaculture technology to filter and treat seawater, as well as kill pathogens via mechanical filtration and ozonisation. Solid waste is removed before water is discharged back into the sea, thus helping to mitigate the impact of farming on the environment.
Eco-Ark uses the recirculating aquaculture technology to filter and treat seawater, as well as kill pathogens via mechanical filtration and ozonisation in these large tanks.
Spanning about 1,400 square metre sea-space and requiring only two workers, Eco-Ark is expected to produce 166 tonnes of fish annually, more than 20 times higher than the minimum production level set for Singapore coastal fish farms today.
If the pilot is successful, the sustainable floating farm can be scaled up for installation in the deep sea.
Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Dr Koh Poh Koon at the naming and commissioning ceremony of Eco-Ark on 19 Nov 2019. He is pictured here with (from left) ACE Chairman Mr Ong Beng Ann, SFA CEO Mr Lim Kok Thai, and ACE CEO Mr Leow Ban Tat.
Singapore Aquaculture Technologies
The Singapore Aquaculture Technologies (SAT) is another APF recipient that uses closed containment aquaculture systems. The funding support helped SAT to convert a barge into a floating platform for seafood farming, as well as automate processes for the cleaning of fish tanks, and the selection, harvesting, and counting of fishes. It also has systems in place to treat water, as well as to monitor the temperature and dissolved oxygen levels in water.
Singapore Aquaculture Technologies (SAT) uses an enhanced water filtration system, on-site oxygen generation, and solar panels on its floating farm, which was converted from a barge.
In addition, SAT was awarded funding to procure a rapid field test-kit for bacteria count analytics. This will help the farm to monitor bacteria loads in fish tanks/nets, and check on the efficiency of the water treatment system.
These technologies and equipment enable SAT to rear healthier Asian seabass, red snapper, and mussels in its filtered, UV-treated, oxygenated, and quality controlled water. These conditions allow the farm to reduce the use of chemicals and antibiotics to minimum. The farm has been able to grow fishes in its tanks at four times the density of open net cages. SAT hopes to achieve an annual production of 200 tonnes of food fish by the end of 2019.
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Last updated on Tuesday, April 14, 2020