By: Tim Briggs, New Hampshire Sea Grant
Just offshore of New Castle, New Hampshire, Sea Grant researchers are teaming up with local fishermen and farmers to create a new model for sustainable, small-scale finfish aquaculture: The AquaFort.
Funded by the Sea Grant National Aquaculture Initiative’s 2018 aquaculture research awards, the AquaFort was constructed, deployed, and tested by a team at New Hampshire Sea Grant and the University of New Hampshire alongside local fishermen over the past few years. Michael Chambers, Ph.D., is the lead investigator on the project.
The platform is an integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) system that allows multiple marine species to grow at the same time within and around a single structure. At the AquaFort, net pens of steelhead trout are surrounded by blue mussels and sugar kelp, which absorb nitrogen waste released by the trout. This nitrogen neutral system has the potential to bring aquaculture to communities around the world looking to grow local seafood and support working waterfronts in an environmentally and economically sustainable way. IMTA methods could be used by fishermen to generate additional income throughout the year and enhance local seafood production to reduce reliance on seafood imports.
In this video by New Hampshire Sea Grant, learn more about the AquaFort and hear perspectives from local fishermen and entrepreneurs involved with the project.