Kent SeaTech Increases Fish Farm Yield and Recycles Water for Neighboring Agricultural Irrigation
||Kent SeaTech Corporation
San Diego, CA
Duration and Cost:
funding amount: $2.0M
- Kent SeaTech
Corporation cost-share amount: $1.0M
Report of the Completed Project:
In the mid-1990s, the $1 billion U.S. aquaculture industry was supplying 25 percent of the fish
products sold domestically. The foreign fish farm markets had an advantage because of weaker
environmental laws, cheaper labor, and abundance of naturally warm water. Kent SeaTech Corporation
was looking for ways to contain costs and also meet EPA regulations to more effectively compete on
the global market. Kent SeaTech was a small firm that could not undertake high-risk projects of a
significant effort, and could not convince private investors to fund early-stage research. However,
due to innovative and high-risk approach, and the potential for national benefits, Kent SeaTech won
an award from ATP to share the cost of the research.
and Economic Impacts
and its subcontractors developed an innovative, three-step
process called "SMART-Wetlands" (for suspended media ammonia
removal technology) to treat fish tank wastewater. After
the ATP-funded project ended, Kent SeaTech developed and
patented the SMART media (plastic wave-forms), which are
made of durable plastic for nitrifying fish waste. This was
a major contribution to the industry, which was seeking a
cost-effective way to recirculate tank water. The technical
achievements have translated into economic impact:
- Increased production of 150,000 pounds of tilapia and approximately 3.5 million pounds of hybrid striped bass per year, which is about 33 percent of the U.S. industry's total of 11.5 million pounds of striped bass. 1
- Employment growth from 70 to 75 employees.
- Production of four products and processes: hybrid striped bass, tilapia, carp, and nitrogenous wastewater for nearby agricultural businesses.
- In recognition of the dependence of future U.S. fish farming on water-recirculation technology, Kent SeaTech secured additional Federal research funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Science Foundation. With the additional funding, the company will promote the Joint Aquaculture/Agriculture Water Sharing, a program with Clemson University that will explore maximizing fish production and reuse of scarce water and in U.S. aquaculture.
Economic Spillover Benefits:
- Three U.S. patents resulted from the project including a patent related to the first in the industry to develop and patent a durable plastic media for nitrifying tank waste.
- The project's results were disseminated through a total of eleven publications and eight presentations over the next several years.
- The robust dissemination of their results led two nearby businesses to imitate Kent SeaTech's wetlands technology to treat agricultural runoff and municipal sewage wastewater.
1 Research and data for this gem report are from ATP Status Report 95-01-0034 and was collected from August-September 2004.
Date created: July
August 21, 2006