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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 742: International Conference and Exhibition on Soilless Culture: ICESC 2005

FISH AND PLANT PRODUCTION IN A RECIRCULATING AQUAPONIC SYSTEM: A NEW APPROACH TO SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE IN CANADA

Authors:   N.A. Savidov, E. Hutchings, J.E. Rakocy
Keywords:   aquaponics, greenhouse production, vegetable production, aquaculture
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2007.742.28
Abstract:
An aquaponic system was built, based on the University of Virgin Islands design, as a prototype for commercialization in Alberta, Canada in 2002. It consists of four fish rearing tanks (5 m-3 each) and four raft hydroponic troughs (29 m-2 each). To test commercial feasibility of aquaponics under the climatic conditions of Alberta the food fish tilapia was selected in combination with several conventional greenhouse plants (cucumber, tomato, etc.), herbs, medicinal plants, and nutraceutical plants. A protocol was developed for producing aquaponic crops in Alberta. More than 60 different crops and varieties were tested in a greenhouse. Based on this preliminary evaluation, 24 crops (five greenhouse vegetables and 19 herbs) were grown in trials to determine production levels. Yields of tomatoes and mini-cucumbers reached 20.7 kg plant-1 year-1 and 33.4 kg plant-1 year-1 and exceeded average values of commercial greenhouses in Alberta that employ conventional hydroponic technology. During the 2-year study, the yield of Genovese basil increased from 13 kg m-2 year-1 to 42 kg m-2 year-1 as production and harvesting methods were refined. This study demonstrated the technical feasibility of the aquaponic technology in Alberta. Evaluation of the economic feasibility is under way.

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