Appropriate siting, design and construction of on-shore turbot farms is essential to limit adverse impacts on the environment and natural ecosystems.
Land-based aquaculture facilities (both PAS and RAS) involve a greater level of complexity and utilise much more technical equipment than open-water systems (e.g. net-pens), especially intensive production farms with numerous growing units (e.g. tanks)1, 2. Major components include:
- Water abstraction and transfer
- Water treatment and wastewater discharge
- Production units
- Equipment and space for: feeding / feed storage; internal fish transport and size grading; transport of goods and services in and out (e.g. feed, staff, harvested fish); monitoring of the culture environment (e.g. water quality parameters)
There are many factors to be considered in locating a land-based aquaculture facility. Many will be project-specific depending on the type and scale of the operation and the environmental requirements needed by the cultured species (e.g. temperature, salinity, etc.)3.
The physical, locational requirements for a large marine PAS or a RAS are likely to be somewhat similar. Both need to have an adequate area of land, which is relatively flat and easy to develop. In addition, it needs to be low enough and close enough to water levels in order to reduce pumping costs3. Energy is one of a number of critical operating costs that influence the location of PAS or RAS farm developments4. On-shore aquaculture systems often require large buildings, may increase road traffic (e.g. goods and service flows) and generate noise (e.g. generators, pumps, compressors). These impacts may be of concern if located in sensitive coastal areas.
Designing, building and operating an on-shore aquaculture facilities must be undertaken with due regard to the sensitivities of the local area (e.g. not disturbing the skyline, screening by trees or other structures, respect for other coastal amenities/users), and local infrastructure (e.g. road network capacity). Working through the necessary planning policies is vital. Capital costs for purchase/rental of the land needs to be appropriate in order to make an on-shore aquaculture facility viable1, and coastal land with good road access is generally quite valuable to a range of other users (tourism, sport, etc.) in many European countries.
National and local laws should be adhered to and all farms should have the required licences, permits and registrations in regards to their site and its operations and keep documentation as evidence of compliance.
Turbot farmers should ensure all possible management measures are taken to protect stocks from predators. This may be more relevant to PAS rather than RAS facilities which are more contained and isolated from the external environment. Deterrents, scarers and increased on-site activity may be effective. Lethal methods of predator control should only be resorted to when appropriate licences are in place and the species are not threatened in any way.