Atlantic Sapphire reports fish mortality in Florida RAS facility
Atlantic Sapphire USA expects to lose 500 tons of fish due to a “mortality incident” in its land-based production facility near Miami, Florida.
The loss is equivalent to five per cent of the company’s annualized phase 1 harvest volumes.
A statement from the company said that elevated gas levels due to a RAS flaw could be the cause of the mortalities.
“The company’s preliminary analysis, which remains subject to change, indicates that an identified design weakness from its RAS supplier caused significant amounts of particles to flow from the drum filters (particle filtration systems) into the biofilters and trickling filters,” the statement said. “This resulted in elevated turbidity and possibly gasses; and caused abnormal fish behavior. Fish gathered at the bottom of the tanks, disrupting the flow of new water, causing increasing mortality.”
Atlantic Sapphire said it was in the process of correcting the flaw just before the incident occurred. Had the work been completed, the incident could have been prevented, the company said.
“The company is in the process of splitting its US phase 1 grow-out systems in half in order to reduce the impact of a potential incident. Currently, four out of six systems have been split. The splitting of the affected system has not yet been completed,” the statement said.
The company said it has modified the centre drain design in all of its grow-out tanks to “ensure undisrupted water flow.”
“This work had already started prior to this incident. The centre drain in the affected system had not yet been modified. Keeping an undisrupted water flow is critical to the operation of a RAS system,” the company said.