New floating fish farm opens here, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

New floating fish farm opens here

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It can produce 166 tonnes of fish a year

Some 5km from Changi Point Ferry Terminal, a floating structure about the size of one-fifth of a football field is anchored 24/7 in the same spot at sea.

The structure, measuring 48m by 28m, houses some 30 tonnes of fish of different varieties that are bred for food.

The Eco-Ark, built by Aquaculture Centre of Excellence (ACE), is said to be one of the first floating closed-containment fish farms in the world. It was named and commissioned yesterday.

The offshore farm, with a total capacity of 96 tonnes, can produce 166 tonnes of fish a year - about 20 times more than the minimum production yield set for coastal fish farms in Singapore.

Unlike a typical kelong where fish are reared in open-net cage-farming systems that are exposed to the open sea, the fish in the Eco-Ark swim in isolation.

Housed in four tanks with a capacity of 475,000 litres each, the fish - which include species such as barramundi, red snapper fingerlings and grouper - are safe from threats that fish reared in kelongs are vulnerable to.

In the Eco-Ark, the sea water the fish live in is free of physical waste as it is removed with a drum filter that operates round the clock.

Bacteria, viruses and other pathogens in the water are also destroyed using an ozonation system within a sealed chamber.

Every hour, 7 to 10 cubic metres of oxygen is pumped into each cultivation tank, said ACE chief executive Leow Ban Tat. All these improved conditions are supposed to help achieve "oceanic water quality", he added.

Another example of an offshore closed-containment fish farm belongs to Singapore Aquaculture Technologies (SAT).

SAT's farm, which measures 55m by 20m, has been in operation since 2016.

Currently, there are closed-containment fish farms located on land. An offshore one such as the Eco-Ark saves on land cost and the cost of trucking and pumping sea water to land.

Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, said the offshore farm is also manpower- and space-efficient. The 1,344 sq m facility needs two workers to operate and takes up 14 per cent of the space needed for a typical fish farm that produces at the same capacity.

Speaking at the naming and commissioning ceremony on board the vessel, Dr Koh said the farm was a good example of an innovative farming solution to address problems such as algae blooms and water pollution, which could limit the potential for aquaculture production.

The Eco-Ark, which was developed with the support of the Singapore Food Agency's Agriculture Productivity Fund, cost about $4.1 million to construct.

The fund was enhanced last year to provide more financial support for local farms to adopt new farming technologies and systems.